Kashmir protest
[Representational Image]Reuters

The central government is planning to replace pellet guns with plastics bullets in Jammu and Kashmir. These plastic bullets are non-lethal and can be used to deal with the street protest, reports say. The Wire claims that ordnance factory in Varangaon, Maharashtra, has received orders for mass production of plastic bullets. After the home ministry approves them for use these will be deployed to the security forces.

However, a scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), involved in designing the bullets has questioned the claims of these bullets being non-lethal. "If a plastic bullet hits the face or any vital organ, it is very likely to prove fatal. But one advantage with these bullets is that they can be used for precise targeting you can hit only one person at a time unlike pellets balls, which can target hundreds of people at a time," the scientist said.

As per the media reports earlier this months, the ministry of home affairs is mooting use plastic bullets instead of pellet shotguns which was originally designed for hunting animals. Apparently, the government has drawn flak from national and international media for using pellet guns in Kashmir. 

Notably, these are the fifth addition in a series of new weapons introduced in Kashmir to contain protests in the one the most volatile areas in India. But in a major shift in policy, the plastic bullets will be used by security personnel anywhere in India. The list of so-called 'non-lethal' weapons used by the security forces in Kashmir goes long which includes teargas shells, rubber bullets, chili-based PAVA shells and pellet guns where the government has failed to maintain peace.

Pellet guns, which created huge controversy last year, has been one of the main causes of major injuries among the protestors in Kashmir. As per the data collected from Srinagar's Shri Maharaja Hari Singh (SMHS) hospital, more than 1,570 persons including teenagers and young girls have sustained injuries of varying degrees due to pellet fire.