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Government to regulate pellet gun usage rather than scrap them

NEW DELHI (AGENCIES): The NDA government is not in favour of completely withdrawing the use of pellet guns in the Kashmir valley, their use will be regulated instead, at least two senior government officials said on Monday.

A seven-member expert committee headed by T.V.S.N Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) that was constituted on July 26 to look into the alternatives to pellet guns is expected to submit its report this week.

“There will be no blanket ban on the use of pellet guns. At the most, it will be used in rarest of rare cases. We cannot make our security forces a sitting duck,” said a top government official.

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), which has been deployed in the valley to assist the state police for crowd-control informed the Jammu and Kashmir High Court recently that it had fired 1.3 million pellets from pump action guns from July 8-August 11. More than 400 people have been injured due to pellet guns to control the violence which erupted after Hizbul Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani was killed in an encounter on July 8.

The government is facing severe criticism for using the pellet guns and several political parties have asked for its complete withdrawal.

During his two-day visit to Kashmir on August 24-25, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had said an alternative to pellet guns will be given to security forces in the coming days.

“In the coming few days, we will give an alternative to the pellet guns. These guns were earlier considered non-lethal but some incidents have taken place... We formed an expert committee a month ago which was expected to give report in two months but it will be coming very soon,” he had said.
As reported by The Hindu on August 21, the committee was exploring various options like enhancing the intensity of tear gas shells, using chilli powder and rubber bullets in place of pellet guns.

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