The Railway Protection Force (RPF) has begun regular training for its personnel to familiarise them with sophisticated weapons.
Taking a lesson from the November 26, 2008, terror attacks, when a number of Railway Police Force (RPF) personnels’ weapons had malfunctioned, the RPF on the Central Railway has started a weeklong training course for its personnel.
The training session is mandatory for all — from the commissioner to the constables.
“The course begins with familiarisation with the weapons, their use and abuse,” said S.C. Parhi, senior divisional security commissioner (DSC).
“Our men are also told about the shortcomings of the weapons and are given training to repair them as well.”
Parhi said each staffer fires around 30 rounds and is given a chance to use each type of weapon.
The 4,200-strong force, in batches of 48, is undergoing the weeklong Annual Range Classification (ARC) course, where they are being trained in handling various types of weapons.
The training began two months ago at the Chink Hill firing range in Solapur.
Every week, around 100 RPF personnel are being trained in the use of AK47s, INSAS rifles, 7.62 mm self-loading rifles (SLR), 9 mm carbines, 303 rifles and 9 mm pistols.
The aim in improvising on the course this year is to have a higher level of preparedness among the RPF.
“This will help the personnel to develop better reflexex, increase their ability to face a combat situation, refresh their knowledge and induce confidence and fitness levels among them,” said B.S. Sidhu, chief security commissioner, Central Railway.
Earlier, each RPF staffer was given a day’s practice in firing a 9 mm pistol. “The ARS used to be conducted at the divisional level where a firing range would be booked for 15 days. However, it was not very organised and the divisions would call off the practice under the pretext that they failed to book a range,” Sidhu added.
The new training course has found appreciation among ground staff. “I now feel ready to face any combat situation because I am comfortable handling even sophisticated weapons,” said Dynaeshwar Meshram, a veteran with 22 years of service experience.
“Earlier I was only trained to handle a 9 mm pistol. So I always lacked the confidence in handling other weapons,” added Meshram.