Expert Committee on pellet guns submits report

New Delhi: The Home Ministry-appointed expert committee, which was to explore alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons to deal with protestors in the Kashmir Valley, submitted its report to the central government on Monday.

"A seven-member Expert Committee under the chairmanship of T.V.S.N. Prasad, Joint Secretary, Ministry of Home Affairs, for exploring the other possible alternatives to pellet guns as non-lethal weapons submitted its report to the Union Home Secretary Rajiv Mehrishi here today (Monday)," an official release said.

The report has been submitted in the run-up to Home Minister Rajnath Singh taking an all-party delegation to the troubled Kashmir Valley on September 4.

Rajnath Singh, during his two-day visit to Kashmir on August 24-25, announced that an alternative to pellet guns will be given to security forces in the days to come.

On Friday, government sources told IANS that the committee in its report recommended PAVA, containing an irritant chemical found in natural chilli, to be used against protesters in Kashmir.

The recommendation comes after global criticism over the use of pellet guns against the Kashmiri protesters that have killed at least three and maimed or blinded thousands of civilians. 

The payload of these guns is filled with the Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, or PAVA -- a synthetic compound found in chillies but stronger in intensity than the pepper.

Also called pepper shots, the ammunition is used in many countries across the world as an effective tool for riot control.

Unlike pellets, chilli pepper balls do not penetrate skin or pose ricochet hazards, making it a less dangerous weapon for defence even at short range.

After 51 long days, the Kashmir Valley on Monday saw curfew lifted from most places and the overall law and order situation generally remained calm.

Kashmir unrest, that has seen over 70 people killed, began a day after the July 8 killing of Hizbul Mujahadeen commander Burhan Wani.