Sunday, February 13, 2011

India Considers 'Pain Gun' Buy From Raytheon

SOURCE ADMIN BANGALORE, India - U.S. defense group Raytheon says it wants to sell India a controversial "pain gun" it claims would be safer than rubber bullets in quelling unrest in the insurgency-racked country.
The Silent Guardian Protection System is billed by its makers as the 21st-century equivalent of tear gas or water cannons - a way to subdue rioters while inflicting minimal harm.
The U.S. military withdrew the weapon last year from war-torn Afghanistan amid opposition from human rights activists worried about its safety. The U.S. Army has not commented on why it withdrew the system.
"We are meeting various elements of the Indian government, who are seeking information" on the weapon, senior Raytheon executive George Svitak said Feb. 11 while attending Aero India.
Raytheon says the weapon, which causes agonizing pain but no lasting damage, would be less likely to cause injury than water cannons, tear gas or rubber bullets frequently used by Indian troops to break up unruly crowds.
Raytheon has already sold the system, variously dubbed the "pain gun" or "ray gun," to unnamed government clients, Svitak said.
India has been searching for better ways to control crowds after 114 people were killed last summer during anti-India street protests in restive India-controlled Kashmir, mainly by police bullets.
The weapon sends out beams of radiation that stimulate human nerve endings from a transmitter the size of a large TV screen mounted on the back of a truck.
The beam barely penetrates the skin, meaning it cannot cause visible or permanent injury, Svitak said. However, anyone in its path will feel an extremely painful sensation across their body.
It can also be used to pinpoint individuals.
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh recently told state police chiefs to deal with protesters humanely.
"We need to revisit crowd control measures to deal with public agitations with non-lethal, yet effective and more focused measures," Singh said, referring to use of excess force in Kashmir.

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