With PAVA shells proving ineffective in crowd control in Jammu and Kashmir, security agencies have prepared a new list of gadgets to quell protests such as bunker periscopes, ear-deafening acoustic devices and electro-magnetic shock-delivering sticks.
Officials said the list was prepared following a series of high-level meetings and approvals of various agencies such as the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF), the Border Security Force (BSF), J&K Police, central security agencies and the Union Home Ministry.
The most powerful but non-lethal device the forces desire to procure is the Long Range Acoustic Device (LARD) which produces a deafening 140-decibel sound to keep protesters away from its ‘screaming’ range.
An LARD immobilises targets immediately and the state of shock remains for a while.
Keeping in mind the situation in the Kashmir Valley where protesters hurl bricks and shrapnels from narrow lanes and by-lanes, security agencies wish to procure a ‘tactical periscope’ which stealthily monitors the “activities of unruly mobs” by jutting out of a bunker or from behind a wall, without exposing the location of the forces.
Another device on the list is a ‘shock shield stick’ which delivers a “high-voltage, non-lethal but effective electrostatic shock conduction” to the target which, in this case, are protesting mobs.
The stick, when triggered, emits visible sparks (to act as an additional deterrent) and temporarily paralyses the target, but does not result in a permanent neuro-muscular damage.
“The specifications have been finalised and circulated. The forces want to procure these items as soon as possible,” a senior official said, quoting the qualitative requirements, which PTI has access to.
A set of ‘disposable handcuffs’, made of nylon, as compared to the regular ones made of iron, is also on the list of the security forces.
These devices have been finalised after studying the recommendations of a special committee, constituted by the Union Home Ministry, to suggest alternatives to pellet guns.
The Centre is reconsidering the use of PAVA shells, recently introduced in Kashmir for crowd control as an alternative to pellet guns, as these proved to be “less effective” due to a number of anomalies.
The security forces in Jammu and Kashmir, particularly the CRPF, have come up with an on-ground assessment report, saying the ‘chilli-based’ shells were not able to “fully deter” the protesting mobs, sources had said.
PAVA was introduced following the recommendations of the panel constituted by the Union Home Ministry to find an alternative to pellet guns for crowd control, following an uproar in Kashmir after the usage of the latter led to fatalities.