India exports body armour, but cops rely on SLRs, lathis
The Gurdaspur terror attack, on last Monday, left Punjab in chaotic situation and intelligence agencies have warned another LeT strike in the state. The loss of lives and injuries suffered in Gurdaspur attack, wherein seven cops died including SP Baljit Singh and many cops were injured, could have been averted to some extent if the brave soldiers were provided some armour to protect them.
SP Baljit Singh, who fought against three terrorists who stormed in Dinanagar police station of Gurdaspur, sustained a bullet in his head and died within minutes. He neither had a helmet nor a bullet proof jacket. Indian army’s innovation called bullet proof patka, which at least gives minimal protection, was also not provided to the cops. Without any fear of consequences, Punjabi cops fought ten hour long gun battle against the terrorists without any kind of protection, kudos to them for their bravery.
The guts of the cops alone cannot defeat the highly trained terrorists. The unprotected cops’ battle against terrorists who were armed to the gills took hours to end and by the end many were injured including cops and civilians.
Few cops were seen engaged in the battle with Self-Loading Rifles, which matched nowhere to the terrorists’ AK47s’ firepower.
Punjab police’s SWAT teams were spotted with knee pads, but they too had no bullet proof vests or helmets. Cops or authorities who think that lathis can manage situation were proven wrong. The gutsy cops who faced Ajmal Kasab’s terror attack in Mumbai on 26/11 in 2008 had nothing more than their sticks and pistols. Few of them even had cricket helmets as head gears to protect them and a handful of them were seen with bulletproof jackets and helmets. It doesn’t take rocket science to come to an understanding that cricket helmets cannot protect a person fighting under heavy storm of bullets.
Things appear to be a little changed as of now; the cops have knee pads, SLRs but this cannot serve enough to protect the brave cops who face terror attacks.
In 2015, where India is taking the ladder to become a developed country, the cops are still struggling without any minimal protection for their lives. The situation of the soldiers in First World War or 100 years back was a bit better than the present one. The solutions are available in India itself.
India is contemplated to be among the global leader for making armour. Top notch quality of bullet proof vests are made in India and even exported in over 100 nations to more than 230 armed forces.
Britain, Spain, France, Germany, US and Japan, right from the cops to the army personnel, they use Indian made body armours.
The cops in India are equipped to tackle riots, but not terror attacks, says MKU chairperson Manoj Gupta. MKU is India’s hub in manufacturing body armour.
According to certain reports, at least 50, 000 bullet proof vests are needed in Indian police forces, but there aren’t any clear hints over the fulfillment as the states manage their own law and order. The state barely spill out their requirement until a crisis arises. It is like digging a well just when the house is under flames.
Even if states spell out their needs, hurdles come on way when acquisition process commences. Dates of the acquisition are usually extended. The bargaining takes a lot of time to acquire the arms and ammunitions, protection kits.
The Make in India concept already exists in terms of body armour, which MKU manufactures and exports to powerful nations. They have left their footprint across the globe. But somehow, Indian cops are left without much in their hand.
However, Indian cops remain unchanged. They have Bamboo sticks, Bamboo shields in their hands. Just the one thing that changed was pistols were replaced with SLRs. The only thing that is constant and increasing is the bravery, guts of the cops in the battle field.
The courage seems like the only motivational power through which they face better armed, better trained militants.