Guns that fire pellets to stun not kill, pepper guns and non-lethal grenades that give out smoke and colours to split mobs -- the paramilitary forces and the state police are learning ways to control stone-pelting protestors in Jammu and Kashmir without collateral damage.
"Courses spread over seven days are being held here regularly these days for batches of police personnel and CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) troopers deployed on law and order duties," said a senior police officer supervising the training programme at Zeewan police complex on the outskirts of summer capital Srinagar.
"The seven-days' mock drill is given to security forces wherein they are trained in the use of non-lethal weapons to control the riotous mobs," he said.
Violent protests rocked the Kashmir Valley last summer in which 110 people were killed. Stone-pelting mobs took to streets for weeks, paralysing normal life in the region.
"Pump-action Guns (PAGs), 12-ball pepper guns, riot control guns with two-in-one short-range and long-range stun shells are used for non-lethal control of riots," he said.
PAGs fire pellets that stun a person temporarily and pepper guns shoot pepper pellets.
"Specially designed oleographilic hand grenades invented by DRDO (Defence Research and Development Organisation) are also employed for controlling mobs," the official added.
"These hand grenades use smoke, colour and stun action to split and break the mobs without causing any injury to the rioters," he said.
During the training, troopers and policemen also double up as protestors. One group enacting slogan shouting mobs while others try to split them up without using excessive force.
"Batches of trainees are divided into two groups of rioters and the riot controllers during these drills," the officer said.
The officer said the training schedules includes case studies of previous year's law and order situations faced by the security forces.
Artificial targets are ensured to ensure pin-point precision during use of these weapons, the officer said.
"The mentality of the agitated mob has to be countered by cool, passionate, precision handling of the situation. The advantage during riot control lies with the security forces because of their high levels of training," he said.
"We employ security men in ring formation, bee-formation, arrowhead formation and the like to break up and split the mobs," the officer said.
Hundreds of security personnel and policemen will be trained to use these weapons in the coming weeks. Security forces are on high alert in the Kashmir Valley as reports warn of renewed protests in the summer.