CHANDIGARH: Punjab police are set to increase the firepower by placing an order for 3,350 AK-47 assault rifles – a weapon much favoured by the force during the height of militancy in the state.
This shopping for arms comes in the wake of Union home minister Sushil Shinde’s revelations in June about attempts by Pakistan to revive Sikh militancy in Punjab.
The AK-47 assault rifles, each of which can fire up to 20 rounds per minute, will set back the state – reeling under a fiscal crisis – by Rs 12.82 crore.The order was placed last month before the Centre, a senior official with the Punjab home affairs department told TOI.
The lethal AK-47, commonly known as Kalashnikov, is a selective-fire with a gas-operated 7.62x39mm cartridge.
These weapons, that are capable of shooting 3-5 inch groups at 100 yards, will be made available to the cops from the special security group (SSG) of Punjab Police.
The SSG, in 2010, was provided with more sophisticated weapons such as MP-9, X-95 and SG553.
“”However, we felt that the requirement is not for the sophisticated weapons anymore but for the power that simply shoots the target dead with sheer raw power,”” the official said.
“”We have now gone back to the original plan of 1990s when there only AK-47s”” he pointed out.
Punjab Police had got its first batch of 1,021 AK-47s in 1991 during the peak of terrorism.
This new plan to fortify a Punjab policeman with these assault weapons also comes at a time when the arrested Lashkar-e-Taiba member Abdul Karim Tunda has made confessions about Babbar Khalsa International (BKI) planning terror strikes in India.
At present, there are already 9,500 Kalashnikovs for the Punjab cops in the border area.
According to the plan, the existing carbines and .303 rifles will soon be phased out.A part of this plan also mentions increasing the stock of non-lethal weapons that will be used by Anti-riot police (ARP) wing of Punjab POlice.
In line with this, 557 guns of 12 bore pump action with non-lethal ammunition too have been ordered at a cost of Rs 2.86 crore.
Besides, for the regular personal armour, an order of 1113 .32 revolvers worth Rs 7.03 was also included in the list.