SRINAGAR: The Indian paramilitary Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has sent 21,000 rounds of newly-developed plastic bullets to Kashmir to crush anti-India protests in the territory.
These plastic bullets will be used alongside live bullets and much-criticized pellets.
The bullets, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO) and manufactured by the Ordnance factory based in Pune, can be fitted in the AK series of assault rifles, a top officer of the force told media.
CRPF Director General RR Bhatnagar said this will be newest ‘less’ lethal ammunition the force has introduced to tackle crowds and counter protests in Kashmir. “About 21,000 rounds have just been sent for distribution to all our units,” the DG said.
Bhatnagar said both 47 and 56, the AK series of rifles, are used by the CRPF units deployed in the Kashmir Valley. The bullets have been prepared in such a calibre that it fits the barrel, he added.
“As soon as a crowd or stone pelting incident is encountered, the troops just need to change the bullets and fire,” the DG said. Bhatnagar added that the force had not done away with other non-lethal weapons and was getting more pump action guns fitted with metal deflectors so that pellet injuries ‘do not go above the waist.’
The use of pellets in Kashmir has come under heavy criticism after locals suffered grievous injuries, including blindness, over the past few years.
Meanwhile, a CRPF officer was injured in an attack in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district while troops launched cordon and search operation (CASO) in Pulwama. The injured officer has been hospitalized.