SRINAGAR: Blinding and maiming unarmed protesters with pellet ammunition is like “beating your wife” for CRPF director general Durga Prasad.
Asked whether the force will stop using pellet guns, which have killed a few people, blinded partially or fully dozens and injured hundreds of others, Prasad said, “It is like asking when you would stop beating your wife.”
In an interview with Hindi newspaper, Dainik Bhaskar, he said the CRPF was not “dealing with student or teachers’ protest” and the force was left with no option but to “use either AK-47 or pellet gun”.
He added the force, the largest paramilitary force in the world, is not under any pressure from the government of India to stop use of such guns.
Prasad had earlier told a news channel that there was no such thing as a “non-lethal weapon”—the state government describes pellet ammunition as such—and maintained that the pellet guns were the “least lethal” option available with them.
The force uses basic Infantry weapons which are manufactured indigenously at the Indian Ordnance Factories under control of the Ordnance Factories Board
“Home ministry has set up a committee on pellet guns. Talks are going on, research is going on, lesser damaging methods are also discussed,” he said.
The CRPF’s primary role in Kashmir is assisting the state government in counter insurgency operations and law and order situations.
Last month, Defence minister Manohar Parrikar said that the army should be allowed to resort to firing to control insurgency.
He said that if the civil administration decides to use the army “for protection and killing an insurgency network”, the army should be allowed to control it by “firing straight,” adding that “I don’t want to train the army to use lathis.”