A day after Union Home Minister Rajnath Singh assured an alternative to lethal pellet guns, Centre decided Chilli-filled PAVA grenades will replace to pellet guns. However, Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has not support the decision.
The grenades proved safe and non lethal after the simulation test of the shells have been done even on 12 years old children. The test was under trial for over a year at the Indian Institute of Toxicology Research, which is a Council of Scientific and Industrial Research (CSIR) laboratory.
PAVA is more effective than chilli grenade or tear smoke shells but the shells are biosafe. Once the PAVA shells fired these burst and temporarily immobilize and shock the protesters. Security forces can also use this in combination with stun and tear shells.
The CRPF officials thought the decision was too early than expected and without any proper preparations. According to a senior CRPF official, the CRPF officials are not ready for any alternatives. “It is one thing to espouse ban on pellet guns and another to be on the streets and face blood-thirsty mobs of hundreds. The pellet guns are the least lethal weapon we can use to handle such mobs that are ready to overrun police stations and secure camps.”
They claimed that the alternatives are not foolproof against the furious agitators who will find ways to replace the alternatives. In that case “we may have to turn back to the safety of regular service weapons that will increase casualty rate.”
CRPF has fired over 3.000 pellet cartridges which mean almost 16 lakh pellets from 9th July to 11th August. It has caused blindness to many people since its introduction in 2010.
What is PAVA shell?
PAVA stands for Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide which also called Nonivamide. It is an organic compound which found in natural chili pepper. On the Scoville scale (the degree to measure the power of chilli), PAVA is classified as “above peak” meaning it will severely irritate and paralyze humans, but it is temporary.
It is also used as a food addictive to add spiciness to the food.
The panel also have discussed about other alternative like “tear smoke shell with soft nose” which when hit directly to the protesters does not give serious injury.
“Dye marker grenade with irritant”, when the grenade is hit it leaves a dye mark on the protesters and also cases sensory problem to the target.
Another option is “stun grenade” which leads to temporary stunning to the target and for few minutes make a blinding flash. These grenades are made by TSU of BSF.