In­dia po­lice de­com­mis­sions his­toric Bri­tish-era ri­fles

Muscat Daily - - WORLD -

Lucknow, In­dia - Po­lice in north­ern In­dia on Sun­day bid good­bye to the his­toric Bri­tish-era bolt-ac­tion ri­fles af­ter us­ing them for one last salute dur­ing the an­nual Repub­lic Day pa­rade.

The Lee-En­field .303 ri­fle was the main firearm of Bri­tish colo­nial mil­i­tary forces and, de­spite be­ing des­ig­nated ‘ob­so­lete’ around 25 years ago, it has been the main weapon used by po­lice in Ut­tar Pradesh state over seven decades.

The ri­fle - used by the Bri­tish dur­ing the two World Wars - fires one shot at a time, af­ter which the bar­rel needs to be reloaded by pulling the bolt.

“They have been in use since in­de­pen­dence (from the Bri­tish in 1947) and now they’ll be re­placed by INSAS (In­dian Small Arms Sys­tem) and SLRs (SelfLoad­ing Ri­fles),” said po­lice su­per­in­ten­dent Amit Verma.

As many as 45,000 of the ri­fles were be­ing used by the state po­lice, Verma said, and the model was a favourite among con­sta­bles due to ac­cu­racy and stur­di­ness.

“This (.303) ri­fle is a fan­tas­tic weapon and has served us bril­liantly in var­i­ous op­er­a­tions in the past,” po­lice ad­di­tional di­rec­tor gen­eral Bi­jaya Kumar Mau­rya told AFP. “But it be­ing a bolt ac­tion weapon with low mag­a­zine ca­pac­ity, it was time for a change. Its pro­duc­tion has also dis­con­tin­ued so there was all the more need for an up­grade.”

Mau­rya said the new au­to­matic ri­fles would ‘add to the con­fi­dence of our of­fi­cers’ and would re­sult in im­proved polic­ing.

“The crim­i­nals will nat­u­rally face the heat when they’ll face of­fi­cers armed with au­to­matic weapons.”

The ri­fles will be re­turned to a gun fac­tory in Isha­pore in West Ben­gal state where they will be con­verted into anti-riot guns, spokesman Sau­rabh Singh said.

Saroj Kumar Mishra, a con­sta­ble with the Ut­tar Pradesh po­lice since 1982, said he would miss the heavy-duty ri­fle.

(AFP)

This file photo shows Ut­tar Pradesh po­lice per­son­nel check­ing their LeeEn­field .303 ri­fles be­fore de­ploy­ment, in Ay­o­d­hya on Fe­bru­ary 7, 2012

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