The CRPF has sent 21,000 rounds of newly-developed and "less lethal" plastic bullets to the Kashmir Val­ley in a bid to tackle the frequent street protests. Sources said, 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 and will be an alternative to the much-criticised pellet shotguns.

The usage of pellets in the Valley had come under heavy criticism after locals suffered grevious injuries. Representation Pic
The usage of pellets in the Valley had come under heavy criticism after locals suffered grevious injuries. Representation Pic

"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," CRPF director general (DG) RR Bhatnagar said. Bhatnagar added that the CRPF units deployed in the Kashmir Valley use both 47 and 56 of the AK series of rifles. "As soon as a crowd or stone pelting incident is encountered, the troops just need to change the bullets and fire. Even our specialised anti-riot unit RAF can use it at some point of time to render their duties," the DG said.

The usage of pellets in the Valley had come under heavy criticism after locals suffered grievous injuries, including blindness in some cases, in the last few years.