'Maker does not know how pellets impact humans'

'Maker does not know how pellets impact humans'

The revelation comes at a time when pellets have killed 14 civilians, most of them teenagers, in Kashmir during the five-month long unrest triggered by the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016 by forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag.

In a revelation that could raise questions on the use of pellets on civilians in Kashmir, the manufacturer of pellet ammunition, the Ammunition Factory Khadki (AFK), has revealed that it does not have any study reports regarding the efficacy and expected impact of pellets on human beings.

The revelation comes at a time when pellets have killed 14 civilians, most of them teenagers, in Kashmir during the five-month long unrest triggered by the killing of Hizb-ul-Mujahideen commander Burhan Wani in July 2016 by forces in south Kashmir’s Anantnag.

In reply to an RTI application, the First Appellate Authority of the Ammunition Factory Khadki has stated that they don’t hold reports of any studies regarding the efficacy of anti-riot weapons such as pellet cartridges.

The FAA also revealed that they don’t manufacture anti-riot weapons such as pellet guns but only the ammunition used in it.

The RTI applicant and Programme Coordinator, Commonwealth Human Rights Initiative Venkatesh Nayak has slammed the authorities for allowing use of pellets in absence of any study regarding its efficacy and expected impact on human beings.

“If as the manufacturing entity, AFK does not have any study reports regarding the efficacy and expected impact of pellets on human beings, how are they authorised to manufacture such ammunition and under whose orders? If there is no written record about how such ammunition will impact on the intended targets, how can any standardisation of ammunition be achieved?” he asked

He said, “Ordinance Factory Khadki is a public sector enterprise which sells arms and ammunition not only to the defence forces and law enforcement agencies but also to civilians in the form of weapons for hunting, sporting and self-defence”.

“Such a body is claiming that they do not have studies which show how such anti-riot ammunition will impact on human beings. This is indeed a very strange admission,” he said.

The use of pellet gunfire on protesters- which left 14 dead and thousands injured including more than 1100 who sustained injuries to their eye(s) – during the ongoing unrest came under widespread criticism from different quarters including global rights bodies.

In Parliament, the Opposition criticised the Centre many times over the use of pellet guns by government forces in Kashmir and demanded a blanket ban on them.

A high-level committee set up by the Union Home Ministry refused to impose blanket ban on use of pellet guns. It permitted forces to use pellet guns in case other non-lethal weapons fail to disperse protesters.