In a surprising move, the Punjab police have planned to arm its personnel with ammunition that has been seized from the militants more than two decades ago. Yes. This move will have as many as 1,498 Russian- made Kalashnikov rifles AK-47 and AK-56 recovered from militants as per The Indian Express. The arms are lying at the Punjab Police Academy in Phillaur.
The reason for reusing the assault rifles is that a good number of them are in usable condition. According to IE, while most of the weapons are defective; a team from Rifle Factory Ishapore, Kolkata, that inspected the weapons last month, found that of the 1,498 rifles, 680 were serviceable. These serviceable weapons would require some rectification, involving replacing components, phosphating, lapping, painting and firing following which they would be ready to use.
Another reason behind the reuse of the weapons is the inability to sell AK-47 and AK-56 rifles. Arms placed as ‘case property weapons’ at the Academy’s Firearm Bureau are usually auctioned but this can’t be the case here, says a senior Punjab Police official. “AK-47 and AK-56 cannot be sold to the public and hence their auction cannot be held. So a decision may have been taken to get those repaired and put them to use,” the official said.
The inspection team found that 555 of the unserviceable weapons could be used for drill practice, while 263 rifles were categorised as damaged, whose components could be used. Punjab police have hence confirmed using assault rifles that are in working condition. “Some 500 or so of those are repairable,” said Suresh Arora, Director General of Police. The DGP added that police were also in the process of purchasing about 3,300 new AK-47 rifles, and an order for that had been placed through the Central Reserve Police Force.
Major cases of seizure of arms have recently been exposed in the state. In April last year, police busted a militant module with the arrest of three persons who were in touch with gangsters to take their help in spearheading terror activities. Four guns — three pistols and a 12-bore gun — 6 magazines and 46 cartridges were recovered from their possession. Also in May, Security forces seized an AK-47 assault rifle, five hand grenades, a modified machine-pistol (MP), five pistols and over 450 rounds of ammunition from two suspected Khalistani militants.