New Delhi: The expert committee constituted by the home ministry to look for alternatives to replace pellet guns is likely to recommend Pava shells, a chilli-based ammunition.
These shells are less lethal than the pellet guns and immobilises the target temporarily. Since use of pellet guns in the Kashmir Valley has become a hugely contentious issue, the Centre is keen to look for an early replacement to the weapon.
Sources said as looking for a suitable replacement for the pellet gun in the international market would take time, immediately Pava shells could be used. These can be manufactured at the Tear Smoke Unit of the BSF’s Tekanpur Academy and could be procured much faster.
A special demonstration was conducted for the committee earlier this week and it expressed satisfaction over the effectiveness of these shells in controlling the agitating mob.
The shells have been under trial for almost a year now at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory in Lucknow. Sources said the first lot BSF’s TSU will be asked to manufacture at least 50,000 shells.
Pava stands for Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide and is an organic compound found characteristically in natural chilli pepper. The shell has the capacity to severely irritate and temporarily immobilise paralyse humans. The committee, sources said, has found Pava to be in the less-lethal ammunition category.
It also found Pava to be “biosafe, better than chilli grenade or tear smoke shell and can also be used in combination with stun and tear shells” by security forces while tackling unruly protesters.
The committee also analysed and is understood to have recommended the supply of few other non-lethal/less-lethal munition to security forces personnel deployed for crowd control in the Kashmir Valley and other similar situations elsewhere. The recommendations were, however, not yet known.