Bihar government vide a circular— of which HT has a copy—has prohibited policemen serving as bodyguards of politicians, judges, government officers and other VIPS from carrying AK-47 assault rifles. Only those attached with the governor and chief minister would be permitted to carry the long range sophisticated weapon.
As per the circular, AK-47 is a long range weapon used for burst firing on enemy to cause maximum damage. They are effective in the fight against both internal and external enemies.
For a bodyguard, the biggest challenge is when the VIP he is accompanying is caught or trapped amid frenzy mobs and he has to evacuate him safely. The circular says smaller weapons are better and come handy to neutralise the threat during such situations and take away the VIP to safer places.
In a letter sent to police superintendents (SP) of all 40 districts, the state police headquarter has asked them to withdraw all automatic weapons like AK-47 rifles like AK-47, Insas and Self Loading Rifles (SLRS), allotted to the security guards attached with legislators, judicial officers, senior IAS/ IPS officers and others and to replace them with small sized weapons such as revolvers, pistols and carbines.
The letter strictly asks the SPS to outrightly reject demands from politicians and others seeking AK-47 wielding bodyguards. Senior police officials of state police headquarters confirmed this but refused to go on quote. A senior officer said that demands for AK47 wielding guards come mostly from MLAS/MPS and builders.
Though there isn’t a stipulated deadline for implementation of the directive, SP’S have been asked to start recalling the automatic weapons allotted to the security guards and deposit the same with the district armouries. The lettter states carbines, revolvers and pistols, are easy to carry and more effective.
Of the 11 crore population, Bihar has only 60,000 policemen to control crime and of them more than 10,000 are attached with the politicians, officers, judges and other VIPS as bodyguards. Bihar has 34.1% vacancies. Against the national average of one policeman for a population of 554, Bihar’s ratio is a dismal 1: 839. It ranks 33rd among the 36 Indian states and Union Territories in police-public ratio.
Of the 10,000 policemen serving as guards, at least 300 carry sophisticated weapons including AK 47 rifles. Keeping bodyguard is more of a status symbol than a necessity for several politicians and bureaucrats in the state.
The home department clarifies that the order would not affect the security of those politicians who come under special category and face imminent threat to their lives. However, as per guidelines of MHA and Bihar government, only trained cops would be allowed to carry AK 47.
Police headquarter has given another reason behind the order. It says sophisticated weapons like AK 47 have been put under the category of ‘platoon and section arms’. This means arms should be carried by platoon which has strength of 30 police personnel. And this could not be carried by one or two policemen.
Recently, IG security B S Meena had issued a directive to the SPS prohibiting them from taking the service of police personnel equipped with ‘platoon and section arms’. The directive had put the SPS in a tight spot as several districts in Bihar are Maoist -hit. And it is not possible for a SP to rush to the spot immediately with a platoon in case of any untoward incident.
There are 243 MLAS, 75 MLCS, 40 Member of parliaments and 26 Rajya Sabha members in the state
“The ministry of home affairs has already issued guidelines with regard to allotment of firearms to the security guards of the legislators, members of Parliament and other people’s representatives. We go by the MHA guidelines,” said an official adding that each MLA/MLC/ MP has been provided three security guards.
In addition, house guards are provided to them. “The security guards are provided to them after review of their threat perception by the IG (security),” he clarified.
Courtesy: Hindustan Times