SRINAGAR: Resident Doctors Association on Wednesday opposed the use of chilli-filled PAVA shells on protesters in Kashmir Valley and alarmed that they too can cause blindness.
The association, affiliated to SMHS and other hospitals associated with the Government Medical College Srinagar, said that the addition of PAVA shells as a “so-called non-lethal weapon” was of deep concern.
“Riot Control Agents (RCA) produce a wide variety of physiological effects in man, and PAVA is not an exception. The predominant clinical effects manifest namely in eye, lung, and skin. RCA also cause nasal, oral, neuronal, and gastrointestinal effects,” the association said in a statement issued here.
“PAVA causes conjunctivitis, periorbital edema/erythema, ophthalmodynia, blepharospasm, blepharitis, corneal abrasions, and lacrimation. Some studies done in Czech Republic have even shown blindness occurring after the use of PAVA guns,” it added.
The doctors’ body said that respiratory system bears the major brunt of PAVA shells’ use.
“It has been seen to cause allergic rhinitis, rhinosinusitis, bronchorrea, bronchospasm. Studies have shown a very bad effect on high deleterious effect of PAVA on asthmatics, children, elderly and patients with cardio-respiratory diseases,” it added.
“Capsaicinoids (active ingredient in PAVA) may have a vesicant effect, depending on the length of exposure. In most cases it produces a burning sensation and mild erythema. It causes skin irritation, hypersensitivity and skin rashes.Capsaicins cause erythema and burning pain without vesiculation when applied topically to human skin,” said the association.
It said that PAVA has also been reported to be associated with delirium, mental cloudiness, irritability, and hallucinations.
“Though not supported by any studies, but the effect on fetal developmental and reproductive functions and malignant potential has been suggested in many scientific sessions,” it said.
Quoting Reilly et al, the association said Capsaicinoids, found in less-than-lethal self defense weapons, have been associated with respiratory failure and death in exposed animals and people.
“Death is usually the result of excessive concentrations used, confined spaces, and prolonged exposures. Deaths have been reported in Poland, Czech Republic, Texas and other parts of the world,” it said.
The association urged all civil and legal bodies, healthcare societies, and human rights activists to take a strong note of the “grave human right violations” being committed in the Valley.