Monday, July 06, 2009

Night guns for cops

KUMUD JENAMANI

Jamshedpur, July 5: The state police will soon have, among other things, assault rifles with night vision in its armoury to take on Maoists.

The induction of the sophisticated rifles — a part of the ongoing police mordernisation programme — is bound to increase firepower and accuracy of the police and paramilitary forces engaged in combating the rebels.

S.N. Pradhan, the inspector-general of police (operation), said that the provision of rifles having night-vision device was a long-standing demand of policemen who have to increasingly indulge in encounters with extremists after sunset. “We will now be in a position to penetrate deeper into the red dens and carry on long-range patrolling in forests and difficult terrain even after dusk,” he said.

However, Pradhan declined to go into the details of the assault rifles and night-vision devices and the number of such rifles ordered citing security reasons.

He added that Jharkhand needed extra firepower, as it is landlocked by five states where the Maoists are active. “Jharkhand is a unique state, which shares border with Bengal, Orissa, Bihar, Chhattisgarh and Uttar Pradesh — all having districts dominated by Naxalites. In no other state is the problem so intense.”

In a bid to remove Maoist dominance in Netarhat, Parasnath hills, Palamau and Chatra, the police need a boost to its existing firepower, which can be met only if police personnel have special commando training, sophisticated weapons and other combat gear.

Pradhan said that the state might have to wait a little longer for interstate border operation forces even though an SOS had been sent to the Centre. “The Union government has asked us to wait for some more time. The security forces are currently posted in other states and are combating insurgency activities there,” he said.

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