In a bid to better control unruly crowds that gather during protests, police in northern India have decided to replace their modern arsenal with rudimentary weapons like slingshots and chili powder balls.
It was gathered that the decision was made after they realised that these “non-lethal” options might prove to be more effective than water cannons or tear gas. “It is much better than firing plastic bullets that can cause bad injuries,” said Anil Kumar Rao, the Inspector General of Police in the state of Haryana’s Hisar district. “It will be used only in emergency cases so that we can manage minimum collateral damage.”
Police officers are currently being trained in the use of these “specially designed” locally made slingshots, learning to fire plastic balls filled with chili powder as accurately as possible. And if chili doesn’t prove effective enough, they plan to switch to marbles. There has been some concern among locals that marbles fired from catapults could badly injure civilians, but Abhishek Jorwal, chief of police in the Jind district, denies this. “Marbles and chili balls won’t cause any permanent damage but will pack enough punch to push protesters back,” he said. “Officers have been instructed to use slingshots and tear gas shells, and keep (pellet) guns and bullets as the last options.