To counter Left-wing extremism, Centre tells states to buy indigenous rifles
The Union home ministry has asked eight Left-wing extremism (LWE)-hit states to purchase indigenously built instead of foreign made weapons for their police forces involved in anti-Maoist operations, officials aware of the matter said.
The issue was discussed at a meeting of top officers from the eight states on police modernisation on Friday. The ministry’s additional secretary (police modernisation), Vivek Bhardwaj, chaired the meeting. Several Ordinance factories such as in Jabalpur and Rae Bareli in India have been manufacturing weapons, which can be used both by the security personnel and military. Special director general, RK Vij, who is in charge of police modernisation in Chhattisgarh, said the ministry’s representatives at the meeting emphasised on the need for using locally made automatic rifles. “These rifles include Trichy Assault Rifles and AK-203 automatic rifles, which are better than self-loading rifles [SLRs] and AK-47s,” Vij said.
The ministry has classified Chhattisgarh, Jharkhand, Odisha, Bihar, West Bengal, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh and Kerala as LWE-affected states in varying degrees.
The officials cited above said the new weapons are likely to be used for anti-Maoist operations in the MMC (Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, and Chhattisgarh) zone of the Left-wing extremists.
The MMC zone includes districts situated at the tri-junction of three states. Around 200 armed Maoist cadres are active in the zone, said a Chhattisgarh police officer on condition of anonymity. The officials said the Chhattisgarh police informed the Union home ministry that it will purchase indigenously manufactured automatic rifles instead of SLRs and AK-47s for the forces engaged in the anti-Maoist operations.
Vij said they will not replace SRLs and AK-47s currently in use but will purchase Made-in-India rifles needed for further use,” Vij said. “The orders for these rifles will be placed soon.”
“First the police should make it clear that Indian made automatic assault rifles are better than earlier ones or not. A proper test of the new rifles should be done. The government should ensure that they meet the operational needs of security personnel in rebel areas, where during summers the day temperature may be very high,” said MW Ansari, former director general of police, Chhattisgarh.