Sharpshooters or sitting ducks? | india | Hindustan Times
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Sharpshooters or sitting ducks?

On Saturday afternoon, Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor and his top lieutenants will head to the newly opened police firing range in the State Reserve Police Force campus at Goregaon (East) to test their marksmanship. Under the hawk-eye of their boss, Director General of Police SS Virk. Debasish Panigrahi reports.

india Updated: Apr 04, 2009 01:26 IST
Debasish Panigrahi

Senior cops in the city police will find themselves in the line of fire this weekend – if they don’t prove they can fire accurately.

The target is not a Naxalite or a terrorist, but sitting ducks. Literally.

On Saturday afternoon, Mumbai police commissioner Hasan Gafoor and his top lieutenants — joint commissioners Rakesh Maria and KL Prasad — will head to the newly opened police firing range in the State Reserve Police Force campus at Goregaon (East) to test their marksmanship. Under the hawk-eye of their boss, Director General of Police S.S. Virk.

Virk, whose daredevil anti-insurgency operations in Punjab at the height of Sikh militancy has given him quite a reputation for being trigger happy, said: “This is essentially an exercise to observe the preparedness of our officers through their firing skills.” He added: “Through the firing rehearsal I will see whether [firing] practice and conditioning [of the weapons] is on proper lines.”

The DGP was quick to state that the purpose of the exercise was not to “test” the skills of the senior officers, but to hone them.

“It is not a competition and hence there won’t be any markings or gradation,” Virk said when asked if his officers will be graded on the basis of the number of bull’s eye they hit.

Virk said the senior policemen would practise with “whatever latest weaponry they are using”.

In the backdrop of the November 26 Mumbai terror attack, a similar mandatory firing practice is being conducted at all units — by superintendents of police in rural areas and commissionerates in cities — across Maharashtra.