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Correct me if I'm wrong, but arent those Punjab Police commandos (the ones in uniform) ? As far as I know, only the Punjab Police Commandos wear maroon bandanas.
Sumant,<P>The guys on the left and the lady are carrying SMLE 303s (Lee Enfield 303s), and guys with the maroon bandanas have the SLRs. With IA upgrading to the INSAS rifles, there should be more of the SLRs to go around. Also does anyone know what happens to the rifles captured from the terrorists in Kashmir? Seems to me that they should be distributed to the VDCs.<P>PS: Looked at the picture again. Some of the VDC guys are carrying SLRs as well.<p>[This message has been edited by Sanjeev (edited 07-10-1999).]
The SMLE .303 stopped being 303 long time back. The army has changed the caliber of the SMLEs to 7.62 mm so that the same ammunition can be used with the SLRs as well as the bolt action rifle.<P>The police however carry the .303 caliber.<P>you can tell the difference by looking at the magazine. the 303 magazine is rounded and without straight edges. while the 7.62 magazine has sharp edges.
Thanx Sanjeev. <BR>Another querry which popped up was how the GoI is going to ensure these arms dont end up in the wrong hands. There obviously must be strong checks since this I believe is the first time (correct me here!) civilians have been given firearms by the GoI.
<P>This came in the HT times. Makes me wonder, how many rifles are issued per village. and what mix are they. SLRs/Bolt actions/sten guns etc.<P><BR>--------------------------------------------------------------------------------<P>J&K villagers arm themselves against militancy <BR>Srinagar: Despite lack of proper training and sophisticated arms, village defence committees are proving invaluable in the fight against militancy in the Jammu and Kashmir, says The Outlook. If the whistle blows once, they pick up their weapons and prepare for a gun battle. If two whistles follow, they know the militants are approaching. These are some basic lessons they have been taught in the art of self-defence. Lessons they pick up every evening when they assemble amid lengthening shadows on a dusty plateau 10 km from Doda. They are members of the village defence committees (VDCs) which have mushroomed all over the Jammu region, where large-scale massacres by militants have taken place. Where women and children are afraid to even cry out for help. Where the nearest police station is two to eight hours trek away. Picking up the gun is the only way to survive for the villagers. That is the lesson 15-year-old Surjit Singh learnt when he returned to his village Lihota a month after his father had been killed in a pre-dawn strike by militants in July. He found his house burnt to ashes and that he had nothing to wear except a torn uniform given to him by a CRPF constable. Now he stays up at night, a .303 in hand, his ears pricked to pick up the signals -- a whistle or the tinkle of bells that VDC members use to block all entry routes to their villages. "The idea behind the formation of the VDCs was to build up the people's resistance," says state DGP Gurbachan Jagat. "The strategy seems to be paying off." <BR> <BR> <P>------------------<BR>Paul
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