With pellets guns, used last year on protestors in Kashmir, leaving many dead and blinded, the government has decided to try out non-lethal weapons in the Valley. So it imported 'stink bombs' from Israel.
If you're wondering what's so lethal about these arsenals, here's the lowdown.
The bombs, which can be sprayed from water cannons, smell like decomposed bodies and raw sewage.
Yup. Try imagining that.
What's more, the smell is so strong that it takes days to fade even after multiple showers.
All in all, it's supposed to be a pretty effective weapon. As this report in the Hindustan Times says, Israeli security forces have been using these bombs on Palestinian protesters through water cannons since 2008. And it has worked wonders so far.
Naturally, Indian security forces were pretty hopeful it would work in India too.
So the CRPF, which has 60,000 personnel deployed in Kashmir to assist the local police in maintaining law and order and conduct counter-terrorism operations, decided to try out 'Skunk', the stinky bomb.
"We have used chilli grenades, plastic shell tear smoke, stun grenades, colour-smoke grenades, rubber bullets, dye-marker grenades with skin irritant and multi-tier tear-gas launchers, but they did not yield the desired result," a home ministry official told The Telegraph.
But turns out, even with the stink bombs, the ministry didn't factor in one opponent: the Great Indian Nose.
Most ordinary Indians are surrounded by all kinds of foul smell since the day they are born and spend a lifetime negotiating various odours -- at home, on the streets, on public transport, sometimes even at workplaces. No surprise they have a very high tolerance for stench.
So, when the CRPF forces conducted a test with these bombs in Delhi on a 'captive crowd', consisting of their own personnel and the general public, no one moved an inch.
"Maybe Indians have a higher threshold of tolerating stench," an crestfallen official, who was a part of the test, had to admit.
Again, who's surprised? And, more importantly, WHY?
India generates about 60 million tonnes of trash every year. As Sunita Narain, director of the non-governmental Centre for Science and Environment, has memorably put it: "We are drowning in our excreta."
Prime Minister Narendra Modi's Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan wants to clean up India, but many of us are yet to make a start even at our own homes. Landfills in cities and towns are overflowing, public toilets smell like the deepest pits of hell, and most of us don't think twice before we dump garbage on the streets -- as long as it's away from our own home sweet home.
What hope could a sad stink bomb have against such hardy noses that are used to inhaling far malodorous fumes?
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