SRINAGAR, APRIL 10: A top Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) officer on Monday said the Kashmiri youth should desist from pelting stone on forces as that was the “best” alternative to pump action (pellet) guns that are being used by force personnel for crowd control in Valley.
“The best alternative to pellet guns is that people should not come and throw stones,” Additional Director General CRPF for Jammu and Kashmir zone, V S K Kaumudi told a newspaper on the sidelines of CRPF’s valour function at Recruitment Training Centre, Humhama.
He was responding to a question whether there can be alternative to use of pellet guns for crowd control in Kashmir.
Kaumudi said all the law and order components of CRPF were using deflector-fitted pump action guns, locally called as pellet guns in Kashmir.
“Whatever the number of pellet guns have been given to all CRPF law and order components in Kashmir, are fitted with deflectors and pellets are fired in a lower direction. But, people naturally get hit by pellets when they bent down to pick stones,” ADG CRPF said without revealing the exact number of total pellet guns fitted with or without deflectors.
After 2016 unrest left hundreds of youth blinded partially or fully, police and CRPF had introduced deflectors to minimise the damage to protestors and avoid pellets from going above the waist level.
“We caution people not to lend support to militant activity by trying to divert attention from the major threat to society. They should avoid stone pelting as stone pelting incident lead to loss of lives,” Kaumudi said.
Asserting that stone pelting does not do any good, he said, “Stone pelting was not a new issue in Valley and its pattern keeps changing.”
“Today it (stone pelting) is here and tomorrow there and today fewer people resort to stone pelting and tomorrow more people will indulge in it. The situation keeps changing. But CRPF has been dealing with such issues and will continue to deal with it,” Kaumudi said.
Kaumudi, who took over as ADG CRPF (J&K zone) in February, said that there was need of public cooperation and asked youth to desist from stone pelting on forces.
“Only thing needed is public trust and cooperation. People should not come under provocation and resort to illegal acts. Because these act — stone pelting and threatening people — are unlawful. Those restoring to stone pelting can be punished. The youth should desist from resorting to such acts so that there is no threat to peaceful atmosphere,” he said.
ADG CRPF said youth should focus on their future, education and ensure their names don’t figure in police records for unlawful acts.
“There are lot of options in the country. Youth can study in Kashmir or outside. They should search for better opportunities and take benefit out of it. Instead of going towards the wrong path or come under any provocation,” he said.
Police and CRPF have come under severe criticism from civil society and human rights groups over use of pellet guns to control protestors in Kashmir.
Human rights watchdog Amnesty International (AI) Indian has called for an immediate ban on the use of pellet gun against protestors in Valley.