A group of tribals in Madhya Pradesh have written to the Prime Minister, offering to take on “stone pelting” protesters in Kashmir with their traditional weapon, gofan (slingshot).
Bhil youth in the state’s tribal-dominated Jhabua district say they are infuriated by videos and photos showing security forces “helpless” against masses of stone-pelting men and women in Kashmir that has seen widespread clashes in recent months.
Gofan Jhabua slingshot – how it’s made?
The Gofan comprises a piece of rope where the loose ends are held in one hand and at the centre a square or rectangular piece of cloth, rubber or skin is attached on which a stone is put.
The user rotates the rope and when it has gained sufficient velocity, one end of the rope is released and the missile hurtles through the air at great velocity. The weapon is usually used for hunting and defence.
The stone missile travels at two to three times the velocity compared to a person throwing a stone and it also travels a greater distance. Some skilful tribals can hit a target at 50 metres with accuracy,” said police inspector RC Bhaskare, who has worked in the tribal belt for over two decades.
This comes amid mounting anger in Kashmir over a string of alleged human rights violations by security personnel. Thousands of people have come out on the streets and clashed with the army, which is battling charges of tying a Kashmiri man to a jeep as a human shield.
Tribal-dominated Jhabua is one of the poorest districts of Madhya Pradesh and according to the 2011 census, its literacy rate is the second-lowest in the country. Most Bhils eke out a meager living as marginal farmers and labourers.