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India Home Affairs approved 600 percent increase in pellet guns in Kashmir

03 March, 2017

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India's Ministry of Home Affairs may have approved as much as a 600 per cent increase in the supply of pellet guns to troops stationed in held Kashmir, Indian media reported on Thursday.

The Indian police claim that pellet guns are non-lethal weapons, but according to the Kashmir Blind Spot Campaign, the use of the gun — normally reserved for hunting animals — has resulted in more than 69 deaths and hundreds of cases of blindness resulting from pellet injuries.

The Indian Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) currently holds 640 pellet guns. The number may increase by as much as 4,949 guns in the coming months, according to DNA India.

However, speaking to India's CNN-News18, an official from the CRPF's procurement division said: "We can’t reveal the exact numbers, but as many pellet guns as last year have been sent."

Director General CRPF K. Durga Prasad announced earlier this week that a modified version of the controversial pellet guns would be introduced with a 'deflector' — an attachment on the muzzle to prevent shrapnel from hitting targets above the abdominal area, Indian Express reported.

"The situation is not as sensitive as it was last year," Prasad said. "The intensity with which it [stone pelting by protesters] happened is no longer there … The situation of stone-pelting on security forces is not as bad as earlier."

Following severe criticism over the use of pellet guns for crowd control, the Indian Ministry of Home Affairs had also considered using chilli-based weapons as an alternative.

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