According to sources in the city police commissionerate, a third of the 45,000-plus Mumbai police have been using .303 rifles for several years, but these are now outdated. Several sophisticated and automatic weapons have been introduced in the police modernisation plan following the 26/11 terrorist attack in the city.
The Mumbai police have shot off several letters to the state and central government to either modify the existing .303 rifles, which have been lying unused in the armoury, or give them to the NCC and other training centres and units. No steps, however, have been taken by the government in this regard.
“The .303 rifles are lying unused in the police armoury. The reason is that not only is the weapon outdated and not manufactured any more, but also that we have got several other sophisticated weapons as compared to these rifles. Also, the cartridges of these rifles are not being manufactured, making these weapons useless,” said a senior police officer, requesting anonymity.
He added that since the weapons were catching rust, the Mumbai police had written several letters to the state and central government informing them about the same.
“We cannot dispose of these weapons since we are not authorised. Hence, we suggested to the government that they either modify the weapon so that it can be used, or give it to some other training unit or agency, but there has been no response from the government in this regard,” said the officer.