In his outgoing press conference CRPF DG K Durga Prasad lauded the force for its exemplary performance
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Men in Action

In his outgoing press conference CRPF DG K Durga Prasad lauded the force for its exemplary performance

Himanshu Pal

At his farewell press conference Director General, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) K. Durga Prasad spoke extensively on the various challenges, especially in counter-insurgency, that the force has faced during his tenure. Topmost were the much-publicised stone pelting incidents in the Kashmir valley. Talking about them, Prasad said, “We have been able to contain it. When compared to the intensity of what happened last year, the situation is better now.” Allaying concerns about excessive use of force, he said that the CRPF is training its soldiers to use their equipment appropriately and adequately.

A year ago, the CRPF was criticised for using pellet guns on the local people in Kashmir; it severely harmed them leading to obscure vision and wounding. The casualties during protests also included women and young children. However, the use of pellet guns has not stopped entirely. Prasad explained that “Whatever the situation demands the man on the spot will decide, whether it be a pellet gun or something else. They (soldiers) are prepared to make a choice which is in the best interest.” On asked whether a pellet gun saved the CRPF during protests in Kashmir, Prasad said, “I have not come to a situation where something else could have been done. Pellet guns are not used in every situation but sometimes they have brought the situation under control".

In recent time there have been discussions to replace pellet guns with Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide (PAVA) shells which are organic compounds found in natural chilli pepper. Prasad ruled out any such possibility. “We use a variety of ammunitions, PAVA is not the only solution.” As of now a few changes in the weapon have been made and it is undergoing tests. The plan is to decrease the lethal effect of pellet gun by hitting the protestor under the waist. Soldiers are being trained for this.

Atul Karwal, IG Training, CRPF, speaking on the sidelines of the press conference said that the CRPF is utilising a viable strategy to reduce the harm of pellet guns on the protestors. “The modification includes a deflector at the muzzle of the gun which ensure 98 per cent chances of hitting the target below the waist.” He explained the mechanism and the modifications which are currently being adopted to reduce the lethal impact of pellet guns.

K Durga Prasad
CRPF DG K Durga Prasad

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