CRPF SENDS PLAS­TIC BUL­LETS TO KASH­MIR

Sunday Express - - FRONT PAGE - @ Meerut

The CRPF has sent 21,000 rounds of newly de­vel­oped and “less lethal” plas­tic bul­lets to the Kash­mir Val­ley to tackle street pro­test­ers and stone-pel­ters. De­vel­oped by the DRDO and man­u­fac­tured by the Ord­nance fac­tory in Pune, the bul­lets can be fit­ted in the AK se­ries of as­sault ri­fles and will be an al­ter­na­tive to the much-crit­i­cised pel­let shot­guns. “Tests have shown that these plas­tic bul­lets are less lethal. This will re­duce our de­pen­dence on pel­let guns... for crowd con­trol,” CRPF Direc­tor Gen­eral (DG) R R Bhat­na­gar said.

THE Cen­tral Re­serve Po­lice Force (CRPF) has sent 21,000 rounds of newly-de­vel­oped and “less lethal” plas­tic bul­lets to the Kash­mir Val­ley to tackle protests there, the para­mil­i­tary force’s top of­fi­cer said.

The bul­lets, de­vel­oped by the De­fence Re­search and De­vel­op­ment Or­gan­i­sa­tion (DRDO) and man­u­fac­tured by the Ord­nance fac­tory in Pune, can be fit­ted to the AK se­ries of as­sault ri­fles and will be an al­ter­na­tive to the much-crit­i­cised 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 R R Bhat­na­gar said. He said this will be the new­est less lethal am­mu­ni­tion the force has in­tro­duced in the Val­ley. “About 21,000 rounds have just been sent to our units,” he added.

The CRPF, de­ployed in counter-in­sur­gency and law and or­der oper­a­tions in Jammu and Kash­mir, had or­dered the plas­tic bul­lets so that troops can just re­place lethal metal bul­lets and use the plas­tic ones.

Bhat­na­gar said both AK-47 and AK-56 ri­fles are used by CRPF units in the Kash­mir Val­ley. The bul­lets have been pre­pared in such a cal­i­bre that they fit the bar­rel, he added. “As soon as a stone pelt­ing in­ci­dent is en­coun­tered, troops just need to change the bul­lets and fire,” he said.

Bhat­na­gar added that the force has not done away with the other non-lethal weapons and is get­ting more pump-ac­tion guns fit­ted with metal de­flec­tors so that pel­let in­juries are not in­flicted above the waist of a protester.

“Even our spe­cialised anti-riot unit, the Rapid Ac­tion Force can use it at some point of time. We will see how to go about it,” the DG said.

The use of pel­lets in the Kash­mir Val­ley came un­der heavy crit­i­cism af­ter pro­test­ers suf­fered griev­ous in­juries, in­clud­ing blind­ness in some cases.

The po­lice of the 21st cen­tury can­not be a brute force. It will have to be a civilised force Ra­j­nath Singh, Union home min­is­ter

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