Military picks holes in non-lethal PAVA shells, wants their efficacy improved | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Military picks holes in non-lethal PAVA shells, wants their efficacy improved

PAVA shells, a chilli-based non-lethal alternative to pellet guns, have proved ineffective in crowd control in the restive Kashmir Valley.

india Updated: Oct 11, 2016 00:15 IST
Rajesh Ahuja
A soldier stand guard at the entrance to an army camp in Baramulla.
A soldier stand guard at the entrance to an army camp in Baramulla. (AFP Photo)

PAVA shells, a chilli-based non-lethal alternative to pellet guns, have proved ineffective in crowd control in the restive Kashmir Valley.

Security forces used this munition to try and force out two suspected militants from a government building in Pampore during an attack on Monday. The effort was wasted.

Containing Pelargonic Acid Vanillyl Amide, an organic compound found in chilli pepper and widely used in the food industry, these shells are supposed to render a target immobile for several minutes.

These are said to be safer than pellet guns, which have attracted outrage because of widespread eye wounds and even death in the continuing Kashmir unrest that started after the killing of a militant leader in July.

Paramilitary field commanders operating in the Valley have told the government to improve the efficacy of PAVA shells on three counts.

The suggestions are: more gas should come out of the shells; for this, more and bigger holes are needed on the casing for quick release of the chemical; the shell must be packed with more concentrated PAVA, also called Nonivamide. The quicker the PAVA cloud is formed, the better result it would give.

Another problem area is the casing itself. “The commanders want shells that melt quickly so that the crowd cannot pick them up and throw them back at the security forces,” a home ministry official said.

The ministry has asked the BSF’s Tekanpur munition manufacturing unit to fix the problems.