War on terrorism ‘heats up’

The Indian military has a new
weapon against terrorism: the world’s hottest chilli.

After conducting tests, the
military has decided to use the thumb-sized bhut jolokia, or “ghost
chilli”, to make teargas-like hand grenades to immobilise suspects,
defence officials said.

The bhut jolokia was accepted by
Guinness World Records in 2007 as the world’s spiciest chilli. It is grown and
eaten in India‘s north-east for its taste,
as a cure for stomach troubles and a way to fight the crippling summer heat.

It has more than 1 million Scoville
units, the scientific measurement of a chilli’s spiciness. Classic Tabasco sauce
ranges from 2,500 to 5,000 Scoville units, while jalapeno peppers measure
anywhere from 2,500 to 8,000.

“The chilli grenade has been
found fit for use after trials in Indian defence laboratories, a fact confirmed
by scientists at the Defence Research and Development Organisation,” said
Colonel R Kalia, a defence spokesman in the north-eastern state of Assam.

“This is definitely going to
be an effective non-toxic weapon because its pungent smell can choke terrorists
and force them out of their hideouts,” said RB Srivastava, director of the
life sciences department at the New Delhi headquarters of the DRDO.

Srivastava said trials were also
being done to produce bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays to be used by women
against attackers and for the police to control and disperse mobs.