Difficult to follow SOP in Kashmir, CRPF informs Court
Para-military Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has said that it is difficult for them to follow the Standard Operating Procedure (SOP) in view of the nature of the protests in Kashmir Valley.
In response to a Public Interest Litigation seeking ban on the lethal pellets that have killed and blinded civilians, CRPF has informed the Jammu Kashmir High Court that pellet guns were introduced in 2010 and were an accepted weapon of "riot control."
"In case this (use of pellets) is withdrawn, they (CRPF) would have no recourse in extreme situations, but to open fire with rifles which may cause more fatalities," it said in the affidavit submitted before the court.
CRPF said the force has fired over '3000' pellet cartridges (1.6 million pellets) each containing 450 metallic balls from July 9 to August 11.
"3765 cartridges of 9 numbers have been fired from the pump action guns," it said.
The CRPF told the court 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.
According to the Inspector General of the paramilitary forces in Kashmir, 8650 tear smoke shells have been used during the protests from July 8 to August 11. The CRPF also told the court that 2671 plastic pellets have been used.
The figures revealed in the court are the munitions used only by the CRPF while the police are yet to submit the details of the ammunition used by them 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."
Pertinently, the Home Ministry has constituted an expert committee to review the usage of pellet guns.
The use of pellet guns in the Valley has been criticized after hundreds of civilians were hit by the metallic balls in their eyes and other vital parts of the body.