Valley gets plastic bullets, chilli shells

NEW DELHI: The Centre has supplied over 1 lakh plastic bullets to security forces to control violent crowds in the Valley.

Valley gets plastic bullets, chilli shellsCRPF jawans chase a stone­pelting mob during a protest at Arwani village of Anantnag district of South Kashmir.Besides, it has also supplied PAVA shells , made of pelargonic acid vanillyl amide, an organic compound found in natural chilli pepper, that are more pungent, to increase their effectiveness. The new shells consist of oleoresin, which is more natural and pungent in comparison to the chemical-based PAVA shells.

The larger supply of plastic bullets, considered less lethal than the much-maligned pellet guns, has been made after an extensive trial with a few thousand such bullets, Union home ministry sources said.

“As part of the graded response to deal with violent crowds, the plastic bullets are being employed before using pellet guns,” said a ministry official on condition of anonymity.

A CRPF official said plastic bullets can be fired from a normal AK-47 rifle but in a single shot mode.

Under the graded response, security forces now have various options — tear smoke shells, PAVA shells, rubber bullets that are fired from gas guns, plastic bullets and pellets guns — before they actually resort to firing.

Extensive use of pellet guns to quell unrest in the Valley after the killing of Hizbul commander Burhan Wani on July 8 last year led to hundreds of cases of eye infection and facial injuries, which often caused partial or full loss of vision.

Following the criticism of pellet guns, options like PAVA shells and plastic bullets were explored.

The Centre has made it clear that the use of pellet guns is still an option, though it will be used sparingly.

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