NEW DELHI: The Army has recommended replacing pellet guns used by paramilitary forces and state police for mob control in Kashmir with less lethal weapons such as sound cannons, pepper shotguns and chilli grenades.
The recommendation was made to a Centre-appointed committee reviewing the use of pellet guns during month-long protests across Kashmir after the killing of a militant leader there.
“Alternative non-lethal weapons are available to disperse crowds during demonstrations. The panel sought our inputs and we have suggested sonic weapons, pepper ammo and chilli grenades could be less harmful. The government is looking at these options,” Northern Army commander Lieutenant General DS Hooda said on Monday.
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Here are the three options recommended by Army:
Sonic cannons, used by law enforcement agencies worldwide, emit ultra-high frequency blasts that trigger ear-splitting sound to disperse mobs.
They are also known as sonic guns because the volume, specifically on the “alert” function that emits an ear-piercing beeping sound, can be turned up so high it can be used as a weapon. The device can reach up to 120 decibels, louder than a sandblaster or power saw.
Pepper guns fire plastic shells packed with pepper that explode on contact causing severe eye, nose and throat irritation.
Pepper is finely ground and dumped into a plastic 12-gauge shell which explodes and sprays the spice on contact. It can cause severe eye, nose and throat irritation.
It has been regularly used by Israeli law enforcement forces to disperse crowds.
Chilli grenades, developed by India’s military scientists, can cause more intense physical discomfort than pepper guns. A concentrate from one of the world’s hottest chillis, bhut jolokia or Naga chilli endemic to the Northeast, is used in these grenades.
Hooda blamed Pakistan for pushing militants into Kashmir to fuel the unrest. He said the unrest was being kept alive deliberately by internal and external elements, meaning separatists and Pakistan. “There’s anger among the youth, we can’t deny that. But the elements don’t want to see the state return to peace.”