The Indian military has plans to make tear gas-like hand grenades by using the thumb-sized bhut jolokia, or ghost chilli, to immobilise suspects, according to defence officials.

A defence spokesman Colonel R Kalia in Assam said the chilli grenade had been found fit for use after trials in Indian defence laboratories, a fact confirmed by scientists at the Defense Research and Development Organidation, according to Associated Press.

DRDO life sciences department director RB Srivastava said it was definitely going to be an effective non-toxic weapon because its pungent smell could choke terrorists and force them from their hideouts.

Trials have begun to produce bhut jolokia-based aerosol sprays to be used by women against attackers, and for the police to control and disperse mobs, according to Srivastava.

Bhut jolokia, the world’s spiciest chilli, is grown in India’s north-east region and is used as a cure for stomach troubles and to combat summer heat.