MEERUT: India’s Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has sent 21,000 rounds of plastic bullets to Occupied Kashmir in a bid to tackle growing protesting crowds and as an alternative to pellet guns, India media reported on Saturday.
The bullets developed by India’s Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) can be fitted in the AK series of assault rifles and will be an alternative to the pellet shotguns.
“Tests have shown that these plastic bullets are less lethal. This will reduce our dependence on pellet guns and other non-lethal weapons used for crowd control,” CRPF Director General (DG) R R Bhatnagar told an Indian news agency. “About 21,000 rounds have just been sent for distribution to all our units,” he said.
The CRPF was deployed to counterinsurgency and uphold law and order in Jammu and Kashmir . “As soon as a crowd or stone pelting incident is encountered, the troops just need to change the bullets and fire,” he said.
However, the Indian won’t stop the use of other ‘non-lethal weapons’ as it is getting more pump action guns fitted with metal deflectors so that pellet injuries do not go above the waist.
The usage of pellets in the Kashmir Valley had come under heavy criticism after locals suffered critical injuries, including blindness, in the last few years.
Earlier, the Indian government claimed that pellet gun is a non-lethal weapon, but according to the Kashmir Blind Spot Campaign (KBSC), the use of the gun — normally reserved for hunting animals —resulted in more than 69 deaths. The KBSC also reported that over 4,500 people were injured due to pellet wounds contrary to Indian government’s figure of 500.