Rajnath gives nod for use of PAVA shells for mob control

    New Delhi: Use of chilli-filled grenades as an alternative to pellet guns, which will be used in rarest of rare cases, was cleared today by Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh for crowd control ahead of the visit of an all-party delegation led by him to restive Kashmir tomorrow.

The Home Minister cleared the file for use of Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) also called Nonivamide as an alternative to the pellet guns, official sources said.

They said as many as 1000 shells would be reaching the Kashmir Valley tomorrow. During his two-day visit to Kashmir on August 24-25, Singh had said an alternative to pellet guns will be given to security forces in the coming days.

Pellet guns are, however, unlikely to be banned completely but will be used in "rarest of rare cases", they said. The use of PAVA was recommended by a seven-member expert committee, headed by Joint Secretary in the Home Ministry T V S N Prasad, in its report submitted on August 29.

The panel was constituted after scores of protesters were blinded by the use of pellet guns in the Valley. The Kashmir Valley is witnessing unrest following the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Burhan Wani on July 8.

'PAVA shells', a chilli-based ammunition, is less lethal and immobilises the target temporarily. The 'PAVA shells' were under trial for over a year at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory in
Lucknow, and its development has come at a time when Kashmir is on the boil.