The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has used as many as 1.64 million pellets and 3665 cartridges, in just 34 days to control protests on the streets of Kashmir. "Pellet guns were introduced in 2010 as an accepted weapon of riot control," CRPF told the Jammu & Kashmir High Court, on 17 August. "In case this (pellet shotgun) is withdrawn, the CRPF would have no recourse in extreme situations but to open fire with rifles, which may cause more fatalities," it added.
About 8,650 tear-smoke shells were used from 8 July to 11 August. "Around 2,671 plastic pellets have been used too," the Inspector General of CRPF, Atul Karwal, said on Wednesday.
"A 12 Bore Pump Action gun is capable of firing various 12 Bore ammunition. These are provided to 10 RAF (Rapid Action Force, an anti riot element of CRPF) battalions and to other General Duty (GD) battalions in all states, including J&K, for law and order duties," he said, reported Kashmir Reader. Each cartridge contains around 450 pellets, which means 1,649,250 pellets have been fired by CRPF on protestors during the time.
The paramilitary force, in an affidavit submitted to the J&K High Court, admitted "it was difficult to follow the standard operating procedure (SOP) given the nature of the protests". The pellet cartridges were fired from the pump action guns.
The CRPF was responding to a public interest litigation (PIL) seeking a ban on pellet guns which have left more than 400 with eye injuries. Fourteen types of "less lethal and non-lethal" munitions, including oleoresin grenades, pepper balls, stun grenades and electric shells were also used to control crowds.
The use of pellet guns in Kashmir, since the death of Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani on 8 July has sparked protests from politicians as well as human right activists.