Neelabh SrivastavaMeerut, Oct 07:
The CRPF has sent 21,000 rounds ofnewly-developed and "less lethal" plastic bullets to theKashmir Valley to tackle street protests, says a top officerof the force.
The bullets, developed by the Defence Research andDevelopment Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by theOrdnance factory based in Pune, can be fitted in theAK series of assault rifles and will be an alternative to themuch-criticised pellet shotguns.
"Tests have shown that these plastic bullets are lesslethal. This will reduce our dependence on pellet guns andother non-lethal weapons used for crowd control," CRPFDirector General (DG) R RBhatnagar told PTI.
He said this will be newest less lethal ammunition theforce has introduced to tackle crowds and counter stonepelters in the Valley.
"About 21,000 rounds have just been sent for distributionto all our units," the DG said.
The Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), deployed incounter-insurgency and law and order operations in Jammu andKashmir, had ordered for the plastic bullets so that troopscan just replace lethal metal bullets and use the new plasticones.
Bhatnagar said both 47 and 56, the AK series of rifles,are used by the CRPF units deployed in the Valley. Thebullets have been prepared in such a calibre that it fits thebarrel, he added.
"As soon as a crowd or stone pelting incident isencountered, the troops just need to change the bullets andfire," the DG said.
Bhatnagarfurther said the force has not done away withother non-lethal weapons and is getting more pump action gunsfitted with metal deflectors so that pellet injuries do not goabove the waist.
"Even our specialised anti-riot unit RAF can use it atsome point of time to render their duties. We will see how togo about it in the future," the DG said.
The usage of pellets in the Kashmir had come underheavy criticism after locals suffered grievous injuries, including blindness in some cases, in the last few years.
The Union government had then ordered for the introductionof chilli-based PAVA shells to replace the pellet shotguns.