Dehra Dun : They may not be very well known in India, but the presence of a skunk in the US could empty the place in minutes. This, coupled with the fact that there has been a lot written against the use of pellet guns to control crowds the Uttarakhand government has procured skunk spray from Israel for controlling mobs and violent crowds.
According to reports, convinced that it will be very effective in controlling crowds on a rampage and the fact that the Israeli army has been using it for some time now with good results, the Uttarakhand Police has decided to place an order for 500 litres of skunk spray to an Israeli company after receiving its initial consignment of 200 litres.
The deterrent in the skunk spray is its obnoxious smell, which is almost unbearable. Informed sources said that the smell from the spray, which will be used with water jets, continues to linger on the person for as long as three to four days, making him or her embarrassed and unwanted company. Though the police personnel using the spray will have a special soap that removes the obnoxious smell, it is not available in the market for public.
Incidentally, the spray does not cause any harm or injury to the skin or person of the people on whom it is used and it is only the abnoxious smell that it the deterrent. In fact a senior police officer admitted that using water jets from fire brigade vehicles at time is not sufficient to disperse the violent mobs and mixing the skunk spray with the water would do the trick.
He said that though the state had got pellet guns which could be used against violent mobs, but taking the adverse publicity they had received specially after being used on the stone pelters in the turmoil hit Jammu and Kashmir, it was decided that they not be used. “We have been told that it is is very effective in controlling mobs and riotous situations without any physical injury to the people, which is why it was decided to procure the spray”, he added.
However, the official hastened to add, that though by and large Uttarakhand is a peaceful state, but one never knows when a situation can go out of hand and as such it is better to be prepared for any unwarranted situation rather than be caught wanting.
A journalist with over 40 years of experience, Jagdish Bhatt was Editor, Hill Post (Uttarakhand).
Jagdish had worked with India’s leading English dailies, which include Times of India, Indian Express, Pioneer and several other reputed publications. A highly acclaimed journalist, he was a recipient of many awards
Jagdish Bhatt, aged 72, breathed his last on 28th August 2021 at his Dehradun residence.