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Soon, cops to switch to pepper pellets

india Updated: Mar 26, 2011 00:26 IST
Toufiq Rashid
Toufiq Rashid
Hindustan Times
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The metal bodies in tear gas shells are being replaced by plastic, plastic bullets would be fired from SLR guns, non lethal grenades will throw out smoke and colour on the protestors and pepper pellets can come of guns instead of bullets--- police in Kashmir has vowed not to use lethal weapons on the protestors incase there is a repeat of 2011.

The weapons mostly designed by DRDO have reached the valley and batches of policemen are being trained to split mobs without any collateral damage.

"No live ammunition will be used incase there are protests this year. We are training our men to deal with the situation in best possible way," said Kuldeep Khoda, DG Police Jammu and Kashmir.

Courses spread over seven days are being held at the Zeewan Police complex in the outskirts of Srinagar regularly for batches of police and CRPF men deployed on law and order duties where police men are trained in the use of non-lethal weapons. The mock drills are replicating situations like summer of 2010, were over 110 persons were killed in police and CRPF action.

"We are hoping that there is no repeat of last summer. There however are a lot of vested interests who would want things to trigger in a certain way so we are imparting training so that the loss of life and property can be minimized," said Khoda.

Police had introduced pump action guns or pellet guns- billed as "non-lethal weapons"- in August 2010 after mounting causalities in June and July last year in police action. However around 100 persons were reported to be critically injured by the pellets fired from these weapons. The most high profile death was that of Yasin Maliks nephew who was killed when police fired pellets at him from a close range.

"There were issues in even use of non-lethal weapons so training was important. For example pellet gun shot from close range can be fatal," said a senior.

The Police chief says there will be "better" body protection gear for policemen as well. "We want to also avoid injuries to our men, thousands of home were badly injured last year," he added.

What changes

The police and CRPF personnel deployed on law and order duties in the state will use plastic bullets, pepper pellets, smoke and colour grenades, and plastic bodies for tear gas shells instead of metal ones

They are being trained in the handling of the new weapons, designed by DRDO

The move comes after several deaths in 2010 that rocked the state as police and protesters clashed.