NEW DELHI: With grievous injuries being suffered by its troops during violent protests in Kashmir Valley, the CRPF has floated fresh tenders to procure about 2,000 modern 'full-body protectors' to save them from stone pelting and molotov cocktails.
Officials said the specifications drawn for the latest body armour includes physical protection from brick batting, knife and acid attacks and having special fire retardant properties to counter molotov cocktails and fire projectiles as being experienced by the paramilitary in Jammu and Kashmir and other places.
They said while the gear to guard against such riot-like and protest situations does exist in the Central Reserve Police Force inventory, the recent protests in Kashmir Valley have prompted the country's largest paramilitary to go in for full-body protection.
"Over 2,000 troops have been injured in the Kashmir Valley in protests that broke out after the killing of terrorist Burhan Wani. The soon-to-be-procured full body protectors are expected to provide high impact resistance to the troops out on the ground facing protestors," a senior official said. The official said the new body protector will have a chest guard, elbow pad, shin guard and groin and thigh guard as part of single assembly gear for the wearer and the overall weight of this armour would be around 6 kilograms.
"The tenders are out for about 2,000 full body protectors. Once the first lot is found successful, a larger quantity will be ordered," the official said. Another CRPF officer, deployed in the Kashmir valley, said all paddings and fabric of the new full body protectors have been mandated to have "soft plastic with Ethylene vinyl Acetylene based Polymer (EVA) foam" which provides extra comfort to the wearer while operating and manoeuvring his task and will have small perforations for air to pass as such gear has to be worn for long durations.
The officer said the first lot of these protectors, once procured, will be sent to the units in Kashmir Valley and based on their feedback, further purchases will be made. The specifications of such full-body protectors were finalised in 2013 itself, officials said, but the force has been looking for more better and enhanced armour and hence the fresh tenders were recently floated.
CRPF is the lead paramilitary force deployed to undertake law and order and counter-insurgency operations duties in Jammu and Kashmir along with the state police and army and at present the force has about 70,000 personnel (as part of about 70 battalions) deployed in the state.