Home Kashmir Indian Army seeks technology to avoid stone pelters

Indian Army seeks technology to avoid stone pelters

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News Desk |

Students from the Indian Institute of Technology (IIT) campus in Madras have introduced a tool powered by artificial intelligence (AI) to aid the Indian Army in avoiding stone pelters in Jammu and Kashmir. It is an AI-based technology that will allow the Indian Army soldiers to understand crowd behavior and identify “hostile” stone pelters who “attack security forces”.

Raghav Vaidyanathan, the executive head at the Centre of Innovation in IIT Madras campus revealed that technology employs the use of “action recognition algorithms, crowd density maps, and analysis of live imagery from CCTV cameras”. He specified that it will help the Indian Army “predict abnormal events like stone pelting”, which is one of the common “attacks that the Indian Army regularly faces in J&K”.

The report revealed by the SMHS hospital further reveals that in the past year, there has not been a single month when the Indian police did not use the deadly metallic ammunition to disperse the protestors.

The Indian Army claims that stone pelters disrupt the military operations conducted in the valley, in attempts to “distract them and aid the militants in escaping”.

The Army Technology Seminar 2019 is a recent imitative undertaken by the Indian Army to “find indigenous solutions” through academic, corporate and military institutions aimed at fulfilling the requirements of the security forces. This initiative has been planned under the leadership of the Army Design Bureau, a department created for research and development purposes and fulfilling the army’s needs within the private sector.

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While the Indian Army has found a solution to avoid being a victim of stone pelting, recent statistics released by the SMHS hospital in Srinagar reveal that 363 Kashmiris have sustained severe eye injuries due to the brutal metallic pellets over the course of 2018.

The Pellet Victims of Kashmir

The report revealed by the SMHS hospital further reveals that in the past year, there has not been a single month when the Indian police did not use the deadly metallic ammunition to disperse the protestors. The month of April 2018 is termed as the “deadliest” month of the year as 70 Kashmiris sustained severe pellet injuries to their eyes.

More recently, in November, a 19-month baby girl, Hiba Jan from Shopian district of Kashmir, sustained a terrible pellet injury in her eye. She is now the youngest pellet victim of Kashmir, having lost one eye to the deadly pellet gunfire by the Indian police during the street protest.

The Hindustan Times quoted a comment made by a senior official from the Indian home ministry, “A couple of thousand bullets have been sent to the security forces on an experimental basis.

Recently, The Wire conducted a report on the use of pellet guns and its legitimacy during the unrest, and it revealed that the Indian government and its security forces have “experimented with a variety of weapons in the Kashmir”. These weapons include “teargas shells, rubber bullets, chili-based PAVA shells and now, pellet guns”. The report shed light on the Indian government’s response that all these weapons fulfill the criteria of being “non-lethal weapons”.

The report mentioned a comment made by Ali Muhammad Sagar, former law minister, and leader of the National Conference, “Every new weapon is being experimented on the people of Kashmir.”

He argued that massively large scale protests occur in states like Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan, which result in deaths of the security personnel and public property damage. “But they never have to face pellet guns.” He added, “It is only the people of Kashmir who are treated as guinea pigs”.

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Earlier this month, the Indian government has announced its decision to replace the notoriously deadly pellet gun with a plastic bullet. New Delhi considered adopting plastic bullets back in April 2017 as well, after reports from Kashmir revealed that pellets have injured over 12,000 Kashmiris and blinded many victims.

The Hindustan Times quoted a comment made by a senior official from the Indian home ministry, “A couple of thousand bullets have been sent to the security forces on an experimental basis. The plastic bullets are non-penetrative, and thus less lethal than pellet guns”.

Plastic Guns a ‘Non-Lethal’ Alternative?

In an interview to The Wire, Dr. Prince Sharma, a Senior Scientist at the Defence Research and Development Organization (DRDO) revealed that plastic bullets are “500 times less lethal than pellets”, however, when fired from AK-47 rifles, the lethality can be challenging to predict.

In the 2018 year, 70 protestors were killed by the armed forces, most of them by bullets. Will soldiers be asked now not to fire bullets and pellets if plastic bullets are introduced?”

He further added, “If you aim and hit below the waist with plastic bullets it’s not likely to prove fatal, but the probability of fatality will be more if the bullet hits any vital organ.”

While discussing his opinion on the introduction of plastic bullets, Khurram Parvez, human rights activist and chairperson of Asian Federation Against Involuntary Disappearances (AFAD), highlighted that the Indian government introduces new weapons in the valley each year, which are supposedly “non-lethal”. He also argued that the introduction of a new weapon does not necessarily signify the “end of the use of an existing weapon” against the people of Kashmir.

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He is reported to have said, “It only signifies the weaponization of Kashmir. In 2018, 70 protestors were killed by the armed forces, most of them by bullets. Will soldiers be asked now not to fire bullets and pellets if plastic bullets are introduced?”

Mina Jahangir with additional input by News Desk.


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