Rubber bullets are used when the aim is not to kill people.
The Prime Minister’s Office in 2015 issued a statement listing 48 weapons that can be used to control crowds, and rubber bullets was one of them.
Other weapons included in the list are tear gas, pepper spray and water cannon.
Even though they are called “rubber” bullets, they are only partially made from rubber. If shot at close range, they can cause severe injuries, shatter bones or even kill the victim. So far, 3 per cent of people hit by a rubber bullet have succumbed to their injuries, the BMJ Journal reported in 2017 citing a study on 1,984 samples.
The same study found that 15 per cent of the victims were disabled, while 80 per cent were blinded.
A new study conducted by the University of California pointed out that rubber or plastic bullets should not be used to control crowds, as they can cause severe injuries resulting in permanent disability.