TAMIL NADU

Moves and countermoves

Necessity is the mother of all inventions. Young protesters have found common salt handy in countering the teargas shells of the police to disperse them during agitations in Kozhikode.

Normally, the shells contain non-toxic benzyl bromide or some bromine-substituted xylenes. Once scattered as aerosols, these riot-agents irritate the eyes and cause blinding tears. But protesters believe that salt and even onion can be used to neutralise the temporary sting in the eyes.

However, the police personnel are a smarter lot. Before they lob the tear-gas shells, they use water cannons to remove the salt sprinkled on the faces of the protesters.

Due to its shortage, the dye-marker has not been used. This has made it impossible for the police to identify those behind the riots after the melee ends.

Biju Govind

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