Srinagar : The CRPF have been using the non-fatal ‘pellet gun’ to control the violent crowds. However if the ‘pellet gun’ is banned and the situation goes out of control, then the CRPF will be left with no other option, but to Gunfire. This would cause more fatalities as per the clarification of the CRPF to the Jammu and Kashmir High Court. The CRPF also explained to the court that, during violent situations, it becomes extremely difficult to accurately follow the ‘Standard Operating Procedure’ (SOP).
Ever since the death of the ‘Hizbul Mujahideen’ terrorist Burhan Wani on the 8th of July in an encounter with the security forces, there have been violent protests in Jammu and Kashmir. The CRPF had to use ‘pellet gun’ along with teargas shells to quell the crowd, pelting stones at the security forces. The shots from the pellet guns had injured many protestors and it had also inflicted injuries to the eyes of around 400 protestors who had participated in pelting stones. Against this backdrop, there was a petition filed in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court to ban the ‘pellet gun’. The High Court had ordered the paramilitary forces deployed in Jammu and Kashmir, to submit an affidavit.
The CRPF submitted this affidavit in the High Court on Wednesday. In this affidavit, the CRPF informed the High Court to have fired 3500 ‘pellet gun’ cartridges between 9th July to 11th August. The pellet gun was accepted as a non-fatal mean to control the riotous mob, in 2010. Only non-fatal or less fatal weapons are used on disorderly and violent protestors. The ‘pellet gun’ is being used since the last few years.
During extreme adverse situations, when there is no option left to quell the protestors, these weapons are being employed. However if the ‘pellet gun’ is banned, then the security forces will not have the option of ‘non lethal’ or non-fatal weapons. During such times, the security forces will have to fire bullets from their guns. This will result in more fatalities, as explained by the CRPF to the High Court.
If the security forces are compelled to use the pellet guns or open gunfire on the protestors, then they only fire below the waist. However in the current law and order situation in Jammu and Kashmir, it is extremely difficult to precisely follow the SOP rules. The CRPF has also pointed out in its affidavit submitted to the High Court that, during violent situations, the CRPF have to deal with running, bending and moving targets.
The CRPF and BSF have submitted their replies to the state government also.