CRPF rejects RTI on pellet guns

The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has rejected a right to information (RTI) application filed by senior RTI activist Venkatesh Nayak to part with any information on the use of pellet guns(the anti-riot weapon used exclusively in Kashmir) while dealing with protesters in Jammu and Kashmir (J&K) since July 2016, saying it “is not related to human rights violation.” 

For the record, it must be recollected that 100 civilians had died and 12,000 injured in the clashes between mobs and security forces since July 2016. Hundreds have been blinded, mostly by pellet guns.

This refusal to give any details about the standard operating procedures followed by the police on use of pellet guns follows a similar rejection of the Khadki Ordnance Factory (OFK) under the Union defence ministry to part with information on the  sale of pellet guns used by security personnel in J&K on grounds of what OFK called “national security and commercial confidence”. 

Pellet guns bought from private manufacturers

As these pellet guns are not manufactured by the defence factory, Nayak who is with the Commonwealth Human Rights initiative(CHRI) said,  “As these weapons are purchased using the taxpayer’s money, every citizen has the right to know from where they buy such weapons.” 

“I sought to know the number of CRPF personnel who had suffered injuries.” 

Many security forces suffered from wounds in the aftermath of the mass protests that shook the Kashmir valley from the month of July last year. The RTI query seeking the number of CRPF personnel who were injured in the violence was also unanswered.The details of promotions that were handed out to the security forces was also kept away from the public domain.

Pellet guns-exclusive to Kashmir

It was introduced in Kashmir by the state police in 2010 when more then 100 people were killed during the stone-pelting protests. Police officials said that one cartridge of a pellet gun contains a few hundred pellets which resemble ball bearings. The moment it is fired, the cartridge bursts and immediately throws hundreds of pellet from a single point.

Doctors and Ophthalmologists at Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SHMS) hospital in Srinagar who treated the maximum number of victims  say that there are different kinds of pellets. Normally they are round, but recently doctors have come across sharp edged and more irregular pellets. “For the first time the foreign bodies are more irregular edged which causes more damage.”