The recent violence in Jammu and Kashmir has brought pellet guns/Rubber bullets into focus. According to news reports, over hundred people are being treated for severe eye injures and other damages, after security forces fired pellet guns/Rubber bullets to contain violence. However, Police is claiming that it is a “non lethal weapon”, but doctors treating pellet victims countered the claims of police, saying that rubber bullets should be reclassify as less lethal or lethal weapons.
In a latest research paper, published in Chinese Journal of Traumatology (Link : http://www.elsevier.com/locate/CJTEE) doctors from Jammu & Kashmir said that Rubber bullets cause significant damage to all tissues of the limb including the bone.
Commenting on the findings, renowned Orthopaedic Surgeon Dr. Raju Vaishya, Senior Consultant, Orthopaedic & Joint Replacement Surgeon at Indraprastha Apollo Hospitals, New Delhi said that in view of possible damages caused by rubber bullets, surgeon should be aware of the potential seriousness of these injuries and manage them on the pattern of other ballistic injury. Surgeon should retrieve the rubber bullet. He suggested that rubber bullets should not be considered as a safe method of crowd control.
According to research paper by Dr. Shabir Ahmed Dhar, Dr. Tahir Ahmed Dar, Dr. Sharief Ahmed Wani, Dr. Saheel Maajid, Dr. Jawed Ahmed Bhat, Dr. Naseer Ahmed Mir, Dr. Imtiyaz Hussain Dar & Dr. Shahid Hussain , rubber bullet is likely to cause infection and a consequent draining sinus. the conditions under which the rubber bullets are fired also have an effect on the wounding capacity. Shorter firing distances may increase both the mortality and morbidity. These weapons are capable of causing significant morbidity and hence there is a need to reclassify them as less lethal or lethal weapons.
These doctors are from SKIMS Medical College/Hospital Bemina, Srinagar, Directorate of Health Services, Srinagar & Government Hospital for Bone and Joint Surgery Barzulla, Srinagar.
“Our findings suggest that these weapons are capable of causing significant injuries including fractures and it is important for the surgeon to be well versed with the management of such injuries especially in areas of unrest. The report is also supportive of the opinion that these weapons are lethal and should hence be reclassified”, doctors said in their research paper.