Despite their non-lethal nature, the pellet guns used by the paramilitary forces in Kashmir came in for intense criticism from a section of the media and intelligentsia.
According to reports, the Indian Army is now planning to replace it with other non-lethal weapons like sonic cannons, pepper shotguns and chilli grenades.
India TV reports that the Army has apprised the Centre-appointed expert committee of its intention of using such weapons in similar situations. Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said that the government is looking at the suggestions.
While pellet guns are classified as non-lethal weapons, they have been held responsible for the number of eye injuries suffered by the protestors in Kashmir.
During his visit to Kashmir in July, Home Minister Rajnath Singh had told the security forces to avoid using the pellet guns.
Around 53 people have suffered injuries in the eyes in the past six years of the use of pellet guns in the Valley.
AP Photo/Dar Yasin
Singh had earlier told the Parliament that one person died from pellet gun injuries during the recent protests. While chilli grenades are an Indian-made military weapon, the sonic cannons are used by law enforcement agencies around the world. Pepper guns and chilli grenades cause irritation to the eyes, nose and throat. Sonic cannons emit an unbearable sound for a short duration – effective for crowd dispersal. Pellet guns, on the other hand, contain hundreds of pellets in a single cartridge which penetrate the skin and soft tissues of the body when the cartridge bursts.