Tyres: The Unusual Weapon Used During the 1984 Sikh Genocide

In 1984 someone decided to combine the commonly available kerosene with the commonly found tyres. Used tyres found a big market for resale after ‘retreading’. These could be seen piled high in the open; rarely stacked indoors within some locked warehouse. In these piles of tyres someone had seen deadly promise. Tyres burn, and they burn over a long time. Topped with kerosene they burn more, they burn faster. A burning tyre contracts into itself, tightening itself around the space within. Ring a victim with a tyre, pour kerosene and set it aflame, and the tyre will turn into a killer garland. It will throw a restraint around the victim, and burn longer than kerosene splashed on clothes might. It was not a restraint the victim could run away from. The victim could at most carry the burning tyre around him the few steps he could move, if at all; he couldn’t grab it with his bare hands to pull it away, or to pull himself out of it. Someone had thought this through methodically.

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