Taser stun guns enter NSG’s VIP security arsenal

Protesters attempting to slap or throw ink or shoes at major politicians could be in for a rude shock, literally. The National Security Guard has procured several tasers — non-lethal electroshock weapons that use an electric current to induce strong involuntary muscle contractions to incapacitate an attacker or a potentially dangerous individual.

The NSG provides security to 18 VIPs, including BJP leader L K Advani, BSP chief Mayawati and chief ministers Akhilesh Yadav, Jayalalithaa and Raman Singh. The idea is to discourage the use of lethal weapons in the process of securing the protectee or to ward off a potential threat. Tasers, manufactured by US-based Taser International, are used by police in the US, France, Israel and the UK, among many countries.

NSG personnel in the inner ring of VIP security now carry these stun guns. NSG officials said tasers could help deal better with situations like the one in 2011 when a man slapped Agriculture Minister Sharad Pawar, or when a journalist upset with the CBI investigation of the 1984 anti-Sikh violence threw a shoe at the then home minister P Chidambaram in 2009.

"We are preparing our men better to deal with such situations. An attacker can even use a knife. This is something that immobilises the body for a few minutes, giving us time to react," a senior NSG official said.

Paramjit Singh of Taser International Inc. said, "This weapon is only for government agencies (in India). It locks muscles for a few minutes, and is a safer way to pin down a potential threat. In the US and some other countries, women use it for self-defence."

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