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BSF ammo: slingshots

Krishnagar, Feb. 17: Forget fruits, smugglers are the target of slingshots in Nadia.

The BSF in the district has started using slingshots to combat smuggling along the India-Bangladesh border in keeping with an advice from Delhi to stick to non-lethal weapons as much as possible.

BSF officers said the move followed a series of discussions with the Border Guard Bangladesh over the past two years on the use of non-lethal weapons by both sides.

Nadia has a 240km of border with Bangladesh.

The BSF deputy inspector-general of Krishnagar sector, Pushpendra Singh Rathore, said he decided to ask his officers and jawans to use slingshots after consulting higher authorities in Delhi.

“Our aim is to protect the border and combat smuggling, but without any loss of life,” Rathore said.

The officer added that he had directed BSF personnel under his command to carry slingshots in their pockets.

“The slingshot can be very effective and easy to carry and make. I have also informed my higher authorities about the slingshot plan. They have appreciated it,” the DIG added.

Commonly known as “gulti” in Bengali, the slingshot is used mostly by rural children to bring down fruits from trees. Similar to a hand-held catapult, it is a small projectile weapon made with a Y-shaped twig and two rubber strips attached to the twig. The other ends of the strips lead back to a pocket, which holds the projectile-like glass balls or stones.

The weapon had its first target today.

This morning, jawans spotted two persons on the other side of the border tossing a jute bag over the barbed wire into the Indian territory.

According to an officer, the personnel saw two villagers hiding behind bushes on the Indian side running forward to pick the bag.

“One of the jawans pulled out a slingshot and shot small earthen balls at them. Both were hit and they fled dropping the bag. About 1kg of gold biscuits were found in the bag,” the BSF officer said.

Another officer said the BSF authorities in Delhi had advised the use of non-lethal weapons like pump action guns and stun grenades. “But it was left to local authorities to devise their own non-lethal weapons,” the official added.

DIG Rathore said since taking charge in January this year, he had been encouraging the personnel under his command to use slingshots. “We arranged it locally using tree twigs. We found that many jawans knew how to use slingshots and were very comfortable with them. We have trained those who never used it before. I have also asked my commandants to take help of local villagers to make slingshots for them and to train personnel if needed,” the DIG added.