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Vehicle-mounted laser dazzler: An effective replacement of infamous pellet guns

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New Delhi, Jan 15: When massive protests broke out in Kashmir in 2016 after the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani, the security forces, among many other means, used the infamous pellet guns to control the crowd. While pellet guns are considered non lethal, the injuries inflicted by them can be quite serious if the pellets hit vulnerable parts of the body.

Vehicle-mounted laser dazzler: An effective replacement of infamous pellet guns

Security forces were given strict instruction to fire pellet guns only at the lower parts of the body, but what actually transpired on the streets of Kashmir was different. Protesters in Kashmir were resorting to pelting stones at the security forces, and what happened was when they bent down to pick the stones, the vulnerable parts like eyes, face, ears came in the path of pellets. This led to many injuries.

Pellets are loaded with lead and once fired they disperse in huge numbers. They don't follow a definite path. Pellets penetrate the skin's soft tissues, and eye being the delicate structure is the most vulnerable to damage. Once the pellet goes inside an eye it shatters tissues and causes multiple damages to all parts of the eye. In May 2017, the Supreme Court asked the Centre to consider effective means other than use of pellet guns to quell stone pelting mobs in Jammu and Kashmir.

Know how pellet guns killed and blinded people in Jammu and Kashmir

This forced the armed to forces to think aboput other means to control a rampaging mob. And what now seems like a viable replacement of pellet guns, is vehicle-mounted laser dazzler (VMLD).

Developed by the DRDO in collaboration with Mahindra, this riot control mechanism is a "non-lethal anti-personnel weapon system for crowd control applications and configured around a light armoured vehicle to provide closer and quicker reach towards target. VMLD can immobilise crowds of thousands by blinding their eyes for few seconds without causing permanent damage.

The system employs an intense green laser and illuminates a large swathe with a diameter of 24 mt at the target to cover a large section of crowds, with a set of mirrors oscillating at fast repetition rate. The intense bright radiation causes credible glare in subject eyes leading to immediate but temporary functional capability degradation, said reports.

DRDO is said to have given demonstration to Northern Command of the Army. DRDO Chairman G Satheesh Reddy told The Indian Express that the vehicle was waiting to be deployed.

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