On July 27 2015, Punjab Police’s brave officer Baljit Singh
challenged the three terrorists who attacked the police station in Gurdaspur
for a face-to-face fight. Within a few minutes, Baljit Singh died. He was shot
in the head.
He was neither wearing a helmet nor a bulletproof vest, which
protects the Sikhs from firing to an extent.
The courage of Baljit Singh, or, say, the courage of the
Punjab Police jawans who were with him at the time, cannot negate the fact that
only trained and armed terrorists cannot be dealt with solely by courage.
On the other hand, some other personnel of Punjab Police
also tried to take on the terrorists with only their SLR gun without helmet and
bulletproof jacket whereas SLR has no match with the enemies AK-47 rifle.
Some distance away, some of the bulk policemen were seen on the roof of a building throwing grenades at the terrorists and then running to save their lives before it exploded. When the Punjab Police’s Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) teams reached the spot, their soldiers also started taking positions without helmets and bulletproof jackets.
14 years after the 2001 Parliament attack, nothing much was changed for policemen. At that time, some policemen were trying to smash them with pistols from heavily armed terrorists. During the 26/11 Mumbai attacks in 2008, some policemen were facing a terrorist like Kasab only with sticks. Some had a Lee Enfield .303 rifle. Very few policemen had bulletproof jackets and all had only cricket helmets in the name of helmets.
Why is it that in 2015 also our policemen are less safe than the soldiers who fought in the world war a century ago? Believe it or not, but the solution is easily available in our country.
Do you know that India is one of the leading countries in the world in the technology of making body armor? Do you know that high quality bulletproof jackets and helmets for suicide are not only made in India but also exported to more than 230 security forces in more than 100 countries. Those using it include forces from Britain, Germany, Spain and France – and from Japan in the east to the US police in the west.
Most police forces and reserve police forces are equipped with the necessary equipment to deal with riots but not for anti-terror operations. Policy makers need to think seriously about this.
It is estimated that at least 50000 bulletproof kits were required for Indian policemen but that was never clearly revealed as each state makes its own law and order decisions and rarely states its need for it. Until they remove a tender.
But the real problem starts with the acquisition process. The acquisition deadline is continuously extended.