Now plastic bullets to curb street protests in Kashmir

TNN Bureau. Updated: 10/8/2017 1:40:13 AM Front Page

First consignment of 21,000 bullets sent to CRPF units in valley

JAMMU: After facing heavy criticism for using pellets to quell the street protestors in Kashmir which have left vision of over one thousand locals completely or partially sightless, the Central Reserve Police Force have now moved to 'lesser lethal' plastic bullets, the first consignment of which has been sent to the valley.
"The CRPF has now sent 21,000 rounds of these newly-developed plastic bullets to the Valley to tackle street protests," CRPF Director General (DG) R R Bhatnagar has informed.
The bullets, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by the Ordnance factory based in Pune, can be fitted in the AK series of assault rifles and will be an alternative to the much-criticised pellet shotguns.
"Tests have shown that these plastic bullets are less lethal. This will reduce our dependence on pellet guns and other non-lethal weapons used for crowd control," CRPF DG said. He said this will be newest less lethal ammunition the force has introduced to tackle crowds and counter stone pelters in the Valley.
"About 21,000 rounds have just been sent for distribution to all our units," the DG said.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), deployed in counter-insurgency and law and order operations in Jammu and Kashmir, had ordered for the plastic bullets so that troops can just replace lethal metal bullets and use the new plastic ones.
Bhatnagar said that the bullets have been prepared in such a calibre that it fits the barrel of both AK-47 and AK-56 rifles being used by the CRPF units deployed in the Kashmir Valley.
"As soon as a crowd or stone pelting incident is encountered, the troops just need to change the bullets and fire," the DG said.
Bhatnagar added that the force has not done away with other non-lethal weapons and is getting more pump action guns fitted with metal deflectors so that pellet injuries do not go above the waist.
"Even our specialised anti-riot unit RAF can use it at some point of time to render their duties. We will see how to go about it in the future," the DG said.
The usage of pellets in the Kashmir Valley had come under heavy criticism after locals suffered grevious injuries, including blindness in some cases, in the last few years.
The Union government had then ordered for the introduction of chilli-based PAVA shells to replace the pellet shotguns.

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