On police demand list: Untested chilli grenades to control crowd

Under its police modernisation programme, Uttar Pradesh Police have sent a proposal to the Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) for the purchase of chilli grenades, a supposedly non-lethal weapon for controlling crowds.

The effectiveness of the chilli grenade, which was developed by Defence research & Development Organisation (DRDO) two years ago, is yet to be known as no other state police has purchased or tested it.

The only force to buy chilli grenade is the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF).

Interestingly, before sending the proposal, UP Police did not check if any other state police or armed force in the country has used the special grenades. Besides, CRPF is not even aware if these grenades are manufactured in India.

Sources said the MHA has told the UP Police that chilli grenades could be purchased only after conducting proper trials.

UP DGP Ambrish Chandra Sharma said the department would invite national or international tender after their proposal is cleared by the MHA. He admitted that they are yet to conduct trials on humans.

Asked about the effect of chilli grenades, particularly on asthmatic and allergic people in a crowd, the DGP said such aspects would be checked while conducting the trial.

Besides chilli grenades, UP Police wants to buy 150 taser guns, shock batons, tear gas and pepper ball and rubber ball launchers.

Tear gas supply scarce, so opted for chilli grenades: CRPF

The CRPF said the purchase of chilli grenades was made about a year and a half ago, but a trial found that they were not very effective in controlling crowd unless used in large numbers. "The tear gas grenades are more effective in mob control as compared to chilli grenades," said R K Vishwakarma, Inspector General (Administration and Works) at CRPF Headquarters.

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