October 2017 News

CRPF Sends 'less Lethal' Plastic Bullets To Kashmir Valley

7 October 2017
The Indian Express

Srinagar: To put an end to the controversial usage of pellet guns, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has delivered 21,000 rounds of newly developed plastic bullets to the Kashmir Valley which will be used in tackling street protests in the insurgent-hit region. These plastic bullets are known to be 'less lethal' than pellet guns, the use of which had sparked a major debate last year. Developed by the Defense Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), the plastic bullets are compatible with the AK series of assault rifles and will prove to be a better alternative than the pellet guns. The plastic bullets have been manufactured in Pune by the Ordnance factory. Speaking to PTI, CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar said that these bullets will serve as the newest less lethal ammunition to tackle crowds and counter stone pelters in Kashmir. '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,' he said. He added that about 21,000 rounds have just been sent to the valley to be distributed among all the CRPF units there. The plastic bullets had been ordered so that the CRPF troops can replace lethal metal bullets with them, while they go about dealing with counter-insurgency and law and order operations in the Valley. Bhatnagar also informed that the CRPF uses both AK47 and AK56 rifles and the plastic bullets have been made in such a calibre that they fit the barrel. 'As soon as a crowd or stone pelting incident is encountered, the troops just need to change the bullets and fire,' the DG said adding that this does not mean that the CRPF has done away with other non-lethal weapons. He said that the force is getting more pump action guns fitted with metal deflectors to prevent pellet injuries above the waist. 'Even our specialised anti-riot unit RAF can use it at some point of time to render their duties. We will see how to go about it in the future,' PTI quoted the DG as saying. The usage of pellet guns by the force had drawn sharp criticism after locals suffered serious injuries including blindness in some cases over the last few years following which the Union government had ordered that chilli-based PAVA shells should replace pellet shotguns.