Facing allegations of using excessive force for mob control, Jammu and Kashmir Police has got two new weapons in its armoury -- pump action and riot control guns -- which are non-lethal but can injure a person indulging in violence.
While the pump-action gun, popularly known as "shot gun", was also put to use last week, the anti-riot gun, which fires plastic bullets, was handed over to field units this morning.
Chief Minister Omar Abdullah had requested the Centre to take immediate steps for producing a non-lethal weapon as a number of people had died when police and security forces opened fire for dispersing mobs during the latest phase of violent protests in the Kashmir Valley.
At the request of Omar, the Ordnance factory at Jabalpur got into act quickly and produced such rifles which were handed over recently to the state police for putting them to use in mob control activities.
The Chief Minister had suggested several non-lethal weapons to the Centre and had also taken up the issue with Defence Minister A K Antony.
The anti-riot gun, manufactured at the shortest possible time by the ordnance factory, fires plastic bullets which after being released from the weapons disintegrates into 40 small projectiles and hits large number of protesters.
Senior police officials said with these new weapons, the causalities are going to reduce drastically.
The two-month long protests in the Valley have seen over 50 people die in mob violence and police action.
A pump-action rifle or shotgun is one in which the hand grip can be pumped back and forth in order to eject a spent round of ammunition and to chamber a fresh one. It is much faster than a bolt-action system and somewhat faster than a lever-action system, as it does not require the trigger hand to be removed from the trigger while reloading.
The term pump-action can also be applied to various air soft guns and air guns, which use a similar mechanism to both load a pellet and compress a spring piston for power, or pneumatic guns where a pump is used to compress the air used for power.
Plastic bullets are hollow based plastic cylinders and are designed like a flat nose.
The propulsion is provided only by the primer, and the slow moving plastic bullets may be captured undamaged and reused numerous times if a suitable backstop is used. Such bullets are meant to cause pain but not serious injury and can result in contusions and abrasions.