The Mumbai police was caught scrambling for weapons while Ajmal Kasab and Abu Ismail freely sprayed bullets from AK 47 rifles on the night of November 26.
Six months later, as part of the efforts to equip the city police to deal with such attacks in the future, a team of four top cops is working out a list of needed weapons.
The list created by Police Commissioner Hasan Gafoor, Joint Commissioner of Police (Traffic) Sanjay Barve, Joint Commissioner of Police (Administration) Bhagwant More and Additional Commissioner of Police (Protection and Security) Vinay Kargaonkar, contains top-of-the-line weapons that even the Jammu and Kashmir police — the country’s most experienced counter-terrorism force — does not have.
This includes specialised weapons like the M4 Colt 5.56 carbine and the lethal M107 Special Applications Rifle (see graphic). The initiative is being lauded by military and law enforcement experts, but it will only be by the end of the year that the new weapons will replace the 9,000-odd outdated weapons the city police currently carries.
Lieutenant General (retired) DB Shekatkar, former additional director general military operations, stressed the need for quick replacement of old weapons. “The Colt M4 is one of the finest weapons available in the market. Considering the urgency to replace the ancient weapons the Mumbai police carries, one cannot wait for 5-7 years to procure newer weapons,” he said.
However, he pointed out that constables cannot be handed weapons like the Colt M4 without adequate training. “The average constable cannot be expected to know how to handle a sophisticated weapon that can shoot 950 rounds per minute.”
Others too have advised caution. “To procure weapons without adequate trials is a reprehensible step as this will result in acquiring sub-standard stuff and is bound to lead to more casualties,” warned Brigadier (retired) Gurmeet Kanwal, director of the Centre for Land Warfare Studies.
J.K. Dutt, former director general of the National Security Guards, said: “Weapons that could assist police forces in handling regular law enforcement duties and be handy in adverse conditions are the need of the hour.”