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CRPF uses 1.6 million pellets in 32 days, says ban would increase fatalities

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The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) told the Jammu and Kashmir High Court on Thursday that it used 1.3 million pellets in 32 days in Kashmir to control street protests. The CRPF has also informed Jammu and Kashmir High Court that if pellet guns are banned as a crowd control measure, its personnel will be forced to fire bullets in extreme situations, which can cause more fatalities.

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It said 3,000 pellet cartridges, around 1.6 million pellets, were fired from the pump action guns, which has come under sharp focus both from political class as well as the rights bodies.

“In case, this (pellet gun) is withdrawn from the options available with the CRPF, CRPF personnel would have no recourse in extreme situations but to open fire with rifles, which may cause more fatalities,” the CRPF said in an affidavit submitted to the High Court.

In an affidavit filed in the J&K high court In response to a Public Interest Litigation seeking ban on the pellets, the CRPF said in case this is withdrawn they would have no recourse in extreme situations, but to open fire with rifles which may cause more fatalities CRPF noted that since July 9 to August 11, it has fired over ‘3000’ pellet cartridges (1.6 million pellets) each containing 450 metallic balls. “3765 cartridges of 9 numbers have been fired from the pump action guns.

CRPF also disclosed that it has used 14 types of “less lethal and non-lethal” munitions to control crowds during the ongoing protests in the Valley, which include Oleoresin grenades, pepper balls, stun grenades and electric shells. CRPF has used 8650 tear smoke shells during the protests from July 8 to August 11.The CRPF also told the court that 2671 plastic pellets have been used.

The CRPF, in response to a PIL seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns which have killed, maimed or blinded about 500 youth during the six-week-old unrest, informed the court that the pellet guns were introduced in 2010 and are an accepted weapon of “riot control”.

The figures revealed in the court are the munitions used only by the CRPF while the J&K police is yet to submit the details of the ammunition used by it to control the crowds. The CRPF also informed the court that “the SOP regarding the use of firearms for crowd control in extreme situations requires that the weapon be aimed below the waist. “But the situation prevailing on the streets during an ongoing law and order incident is dynamic and mobile,” it said.

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