Hundreds of people sustained eye injuries due to use of pellet guns in Kashmir.
Skunk water - Israel's weapon of choice for crowd control - is said to smell like a mixture of excrement, noxious gas and a decomposing donkey. And that is what the government is considering for use to break up protests in India. Under attack over the use of pellet guns that wreaked havoc during protests in Kashmir last year, blinding and injuring hundreds, the government today told the Supreme Court that it was exploring options. Skunk water, it said, was one.
Skunks - cat-sized animals found in North and South America -- are known for the smelly spray they deploy to protect themselves. While Israel hasn't exactly managed to duplicate the odour, reports from the country say the liquid's stench stays for days. Not only does it linger on the skin of any protester unfortunate enough to be sprayed, BBC reported
that people from West Bank claimed that entire areas smell for days.
But apart from the gag reflex, the liquid - made from yeast, baking powder and water -- which is being used since 2004, has not been found to be harmful to humans or environment. Reports say even the US police were interested in buying the skunk spray.
While there are allegations that the Israeli forces misuse the skunk spray on Palestinians, the Centre today underscored the need for an effective crowd-control mechanism. Citing yesterday's violence during Srinagar by-polls, the Centre told the top court, which was hearing a petition to stop the use of pellet guns, "When there is such large scale violence forces have to resort to graded response."
But though the Centre has defended the use of pellet guns, hunt is on for harmless but effective options. The laboratories of Defence Research and Development Establishment or DRDE, are at work developing a take-off on the tear gas: A grenade packed with spicy jelly, which, when it bursts, causes irritation in the eyes.
The Central Reserve Police Force or CRPF, meanwhile, has also come up with a deflector that will be fit on the muzzle of the pellet guns, so the pellets when fired, hit only the legs of the targets.
Around 6,000 people had sustained pellet injuries during the five-month unrest in Kashmir since the killing of Hizbul Mujahideen terrorist Burhan Wani last. Of them, nearly 1,200 were hit in the eyes and many of them were partially or permanently blinded.