CRPF gets ‘chilli grenade’ to tackle stone pelters in J&K

As stone-throwing mobs in the Valley continue to be a pain in the neck of security forces, the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) has got a new non-lethal weapon to deal with violent crowds — 'chilli grenades'.

The first supply of the oleo-resin-based hand grenade, developed by the Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO), has reached the CRPF and has already been used on a few occasions in the Valley.

Having chilli as one of its ingredients, the grenade, on explosion, emits a smoke that causes extreme irritation. "It is much more efficient than the normal tear-gas we use. Because of the level of irritation it produces, it is an ideal medium for mob-dispersal operations," a senior CRPF official said.

There is another advantage. Since the body is made of plastic, the grenade melts when it explodes, making it very difficult for a protester to throw it back. Instances of mobs throwing back tear-gas shells on security forces are common in J&K.

Also, unlike a tear-gas shell, it can be lobbed manually, officials said. "Since they are fired from a gun, tear-gas shells can potentially injure or kill a person. The chilli grenades can be thrown by hands and cannot cause serious physical harm even if they hit somebody," the official said.

The grenade emits tear gas for over 30 seconds, causing extreme lacrymation, irritation and suffocation.

Over 1,800 CRPF personnel have been injured in stone-throwing incidents in Kashmir in two years. Nearly 300 CRPF men have been injured in such incidents since June this year.

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