The armed forces tacking unrest in Kashmir will now be able to use PAVA shells following the Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh’s approval on Saturday.
PAVA, or Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, is an organic compound found in natural chilli pepper. It is also called Nonivamide
The need for PAVA shells became significant following the criticism of the pellet guns that were used to tackle the recent almost two-month-long unrest in the Valley following the July 8 killing of Burhan Wani.
A security force officer fires a tear gas shell in Kashmir to tackle protesters. (Representational Image.)
The decision to use PAVA shells was taken on the advice given by an expert committee consisting of officers from the Home Ministry, Border Security Force (BSF), Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), Jammu and Kashmir Police, IIT-Delhi and Ordnance Factory Board.
Following a demonstration of the shells at a CISF test ground, it was found that PAVA shells are non-lethal and will temporarily incapacitate the targets and render them immobile for several minutes.
PAVA is categorised as “above peak” on the Scoville scale (the degree to measure the hotness of chilli). The experts also said that PAVA is “biosafe, better than chilli grenade or tear smoke shell and can also be used in combination with stun and tear shells”.
Many protesters are undergoing eye treatment in hospitals following injuries from pellet guns.
PAVA is unlike pellet guns, which have been criticized for the serious nature of injuries it causes, including permanent eye damage. Singh’s decision comes just ahead of the peace talks that will be held by an all-party delegation and stakeholders in Kashmir.