Srinagar: The CRPF on Thursday told the Jammu and Kashmir high court that the situation in the Valley and the nature of the protests are so grave that it is difficult for its men to follow standard operating procedure (SOP).
Meanwhile, an ambulance driver was shot and injured by security forces in Srinagar’s Safa Kadal area late on Thursday night. Doctors at the city’s SMHS hospital said that the driver, who has since been operated upon, told them that he was targeted while on the way to the hospital from Kangan, a town about 45 kilometres north of Srinagar.
He drove the ambulance to the hospital despite suffering bone fracture, the doctors said.
The CRPF, in response to a PIL seeking a ban on the use of pellet guns which have killed, maimed or blinded about 500 youth during the six-week-old unrest, informed the court that the pellet guns were introduced in 2010 and are an accepted weapon of “riot control”.
It said in an affidavit submitted in the court that if pellet guns were withdrawn, they would have no choice in extreme situations but to open fire with rifles, which may cause more fatalities.
The affidavit also said that between July 9 and August 11, it has fired over 3,000 pellet cartridges, each containing 450 metallic balls.
3,765 cartridges of 9 numbers have been fired from the pump action guns. It also told the court that it has used 14 types of “less lethal and non-lethal” munitions to control crowds during the ongoing protests in the Valley including Oleoresin grenades, pepper balls, stun grenades and electric shells.
The Inspector General of the CRPF also said in the affidavit that 8,650 tear smoke shells and 2,671 plastic pellets have been used during the protests from July 8 to August 11.
The figures revealed in the court are the munitions used only by the CRPF while the J&K police is yet to submit the details of the ammunition used by it to control the crowds. The CRPF also informed the court that “the SOP regarding the use of firearms for crowd control in extreme situations requires that the weapon be aimed below the waist. “But the situation prevailing on the streets during an ongoing law and order incident is dynamic and mobile,” it said....