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HindustanTimes Sun,20 Apr 2014

Govt to hand over unused guns to state’s counter insurgency forces

Bibhas Bhattacharya, Hindustan Times  Kolkata, December 17, 2012
First Published: 12:59 IST(17/12/2012) | Last Updated: 13:03 IST(17/12/2012)

The Bengal government has decided to hand 50 German-made MP5 submachine guns to personnel enlisted with the state  (CIF).

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The move to arm the counter insurgency force, which had been raised to counter the Maoists in their hotbeds, is essentially aimed at making better use of these high-calibre weapons and keep them from gathering dust.

However, the state police top bosses have sought to insist that the decision on handing the weapons to the state counter insurgency personnel had been taken upon due consideration of their arms requirement.

“The CIF personnel need more sophisticated weaponry to counter the Maoist challenge. Hence, our government has decided to arm them with these high-calibre weapons,” Barun Mullick, deputy-inspector-general (DIG) of police (modernisation), told HT.

The genesis of the MP5 goes as far back as the First World War when it first came to be used and was also used widely during the Second World War.

The 9mm gun is currently in use by Special Forces in several countries across the globe.

The guns are known to have better control and their fully mechanical style and minimised over-penetration are deemed to lend maximum benefits during a combat situation.

These weapons had been procured for security escorts for the VIPs around a couple of months back, but the escorts shadowing the VIPs soon started airing concerns over their large size.

“Security escorts shadowing VIPs normally prefer small Glock pistols or other light weight varieties of firearms. Hence, they aired their concerns over the muchheavier MP5 and were unwilling to use them. These weapons have since been left unused for months. Hence, we decided to hand them over to the CIF, so they could be put to better use,” said an officer of the state home department.

Clearly hinting at poor judgment at the time of procuring these weapons, the officer said that the department ought to have put more thought to whether these firearms were tailor made for VIP security, before making the purchases.

“Besides the MP5, there are several other weapons that had been purchased in bulk but have been left unused for months,” the officer said.

The MP5s are priced $3,000 in the international market and the state government made the purchases through certain companies recommended by the Centre. The lion’s share of the expenses for these purchases had been borne by the Union government.

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