A grenade packed with spicy jelly, which causes irritation in the eyes on exploding, is likely to be included in the weaponry of security forces in Kashmir for quelling violent protests but pellet guns will stay.
Pellet guns will be used only after less lethal weapons fail to control the stone-pelting protesters and before firing is ordered as the last resort, official sources said.
Oloeoresin, a semi-solid extract in a solution, mixed with spicy gel, could be put in the grenade casings to tackle rioting mobs, they said.
The suggestion for using such grenades came up at a meeting chaired by union home secretary Rajiv Mehrishi which was called a day after the Supreme Court voiced concern over injuries caused by pellet guns to minors and asked the Centre and state to consider other effective means to quell the protests as it concerned “life and death”.
After hearing arguments in the case, the apex court had suggested to the government to consider other technology-based measures like microwave to disperse the protesters and water which tastes and smell foul that will make people go away.
The sources said Oloeoresin-based shells emerged as an immediate solution and will be used after carrying out necessary testing by the security forces.
It is being manufactured by Defence Research and Development Establishment (DRDE), a defence laboratory of the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).
However, the meeting was of the view to that pellet guns should continue to be used if less lethal weapons failed to control violent crowds.
The oleoresin based shells are simple to operate and user-friendly to control an unruly mob. The body of the grenades is made of plastic which melts when the grenade bursts, making throwing it back difficult.
Immediately after exploding, it emits gas which causes breathing difficulty and irritation in eyes.