NEW DELHI (Web Desk) – India is set to introduce another non-lethal weapon in India-held Kashmir to quell ongoing protests in the territory.
Although a final decision is yet to be taken, Indian Home Minister Rajnath Singh indicated that Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) personnel would now use PAVA shells, a chilli-based munition that temporarily incapacitates the target and renders it immobile.
PAVA, or Pelargonic Acid Vanillylamide, also called Nonivamide, is an organic compound found in natural chilli pepper. Once fired, PAVA shells burst out to temporarily stun, immobilise and paralyse the target.
The panel is said to have held a demonstration of PAVA shells earlier this week, reported Times of India.
The controversial use of pellet guns has compromised the eyesight of over 100 young Kashmiris and caused an international uproar. Last month, the Indian government constituted a panel tasked with finding a replacement to the pellet gun, according to Kashmir Media Service.
The panel favoured PAVA shells as an alternative to pellet guns and recommended that the Tear Smoke Unit (TSU) of the BSF in Gwalior should be tasked with bulk production of the shells immediately, with the first lot of 50,000 rounds.
The Indian army has used chilli-based arms as a non-lethal biological weapon for crowd control to disperse demonstrators since at least 2010.