They wear blue-painted abdomen guards over the trousers unlike cricket guard, thick foam-stuffed shin guards like football players and don arm-guards and helmet like cricketer Sachin Tendulkar. But there are three additions to otherwise a sports gear: thick thigh guards, heavy chest and shoulder guards. They also have robot-like shoulder and knee caps.
These men in blue are not preparing for any rare Olympic game but are geared up to battle stone-pelting youth in Srinagar. The CRPF has donned their personnel with new riot-gear, first state in the country to be introduced with the gear.
The new uniform concept and design, sources said, have been conceived by CRPF headquarters in New Delhi to control violent protests.
More than three dozen CRPF personnel sustained grave injuries in violent protests in Srinagar this year, mainly in head and legs. More than 40 vehicles have also been damaged by violent protesters.
"Yes, new uniform have been introduced in downtown Srinagar but I am not aware of the specifications," said CRPF spokesman Prabhakar Tripathy on phone from Bihar.
The new riot gear was introduced this week only after violent protests over the deaths of two youth in Srinagar in security forces’ action spreading across the city.
"Many of my colleagues were injured since January 2010 in stone pelting. Protesters hurl stone with great speed and have lead to fractures and grave wounds. I feel comfortable in new riot-gear. It shields all vital organs," said a CRPF personnel, who is not allowed to reveal his name to the media, while wearing a sports helmet rather than riot gear helmet.
"The sports helmet is more easy to be in. The net in traditional CRPF comes distracts vision, while sports helmet has wide net," said the CRPF jawan.
The new gear has been introduced only in highly volatile areas in Srinagar so far.
"Abdomen guard is as important as head guard," said IG CRPF NC Asthana.
“It was in 1874 that abdomen guard was introduced in cricket and helmet was introduced in 1974. So abdomen guard is equally rather more important,” said Asthana on use of abdomen guards. He refused to divulge any specifications of the new riot gear.