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India to test 'Star War' weapons on Kashmiri protesters

IRNA - Islamic Republic News Agency

Srinagar, India, Aug 30, IRNA -- The Government has now decided to equip its police and paramilitary forces with slew of Directed Energy Weapons (DEWs) also called laser dazzlers to tackle Kashmiri protesters.

Latest reports said 64 people have been killed and thousands injured in less than three months, mostly in direct firing by paramilitary CRPF and police forces on the stone throwing protesters.

Prime Minister Manmohan Singh is understood to have given the go-ahead for the selective use of the gun, which is non-lethal and aimed at disorienting a crowd or even militants in action, news reports said.

The laser dazzler would flash a laser beam causing the protesters to go virtually blind for nearly a minute, good enough time for the troops to nab them, reports added saying that the laser beam is two to three metres wide.

The weapon was produced two years ago by Defence Research and Development Organisation (DRDO).

Times Of India recently quoted a top official saying that the DRDO has been trying to develop its own set of Star Wars-like weapons including the DEWs like Laser dazzlers.

The weapon has already been successfully tested by the army in “real combat” situations in Kashmir, reports added.

Prime Minister Singh gave a hint about the weapon when he said last week, “We need to revisit standard operating procedures and crowd control measures to deal with public agitations with non-lethal, yet effective and focused measures.”

United Nations conventions however prohibit the use of laser guns that cause permanent blindness.

The gun originally developed by the US in the early 1990s was initially referred as far more terrifying military weapon.

Its development was arrested mostly due to international outcry that use of military dazzlers would be extremely cruel and inhumane, and the weapons were condemned both by the International Red Cross and the United Nations.

Experts said that a major problem that made laser dazzlers a political plutonium before they were ever even been deployed was that the difference in the amount of energy needed to temporarily blind and permanently blind a target was a very thin and not easily defined line.

For a long time, any laser that was capable of temporarily blinding a target in one instance could very easily permanently blind one in another, depending on many variables such as atmospheric conditions, range, orientation of the target, length of exposure, frequency, beam intensity, and more.

These problems could not be easily solved, and laser blinders fell out of favor as a form of personnel neutralization and began to be looked upon more for weapon sensor neutralization.

News reports in India however said that the guns developed by DRDO were fully compliant with the UN conventions.

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