After much protests and agitation against the usage of pellet guns in Kshmir, an alternative to the “non-lethal” weapon has been zeroed in.
A panel constituted by the home ministry to find an alternative to pellet guns for crowd control has decided to use PAV guns, a chilli-based ammunition, which is less lethal and immobilises the target temporarily.
The demonstration was held at a test field earlier this week and the committee gave their assent for use by security forces for crowd control and during protests like the one Kashmir has witnessed post the encounter of Burhan Wani.
The ‘PAVA shells’ were under trial for over a year at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory in Lucknow.
According to sources close to the committee the Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) of the BSF in Gwalior has been tasked with bulk production of the shells “immediately”, with the first lot not of less than 50,000 rounds.
The name ‘PAVA’ stands for Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, also called Nonivamide, and is a organic compound found characteristically in natural chilli pepper.
On the Scoville scale (the degree to measure the power of chilli), PAVA is categorised as “above peak” meaning it will severely irritate and paralyse humans, but temporarily. It is also used as a food additive to add pungency, flavouring and spicy effect to food.
The panel noted that PAVA is “biosafe, better than chilli grenade or tear smoke shell and can also be used in combination with stun and tear shells” by security forces while tackling unruly protesters.
The committee also analysed and is understood to have recommended the supply of few other non-lethal/less-lethal munition to security forces personnel deployed for crowd control in the Kashmir Valley and other similar situations elsewhere. The recommendations were, however, not yet known.