Bullets and the Victoria Terminus

Well, it looks like nobody’s talking, at least anyone who has any authority to talk about whether the 60+ police stationed in Mumbai at the Victoria Terminus had any ammunition to put in their WWI-vintage rifles and shoot back at two people who murdered at least ten innocents in cold blood and wounded scores more.

I didn’t expect there would be much of a revelation, because it would call into question an awful lot of the rest of the police forces in India. Right now nobody has answered the question definitively and it appears that nobody will.

Until a few years from now.

It’s one of those questions that is very disturbing to ask, because the wrong answer would speak to the security provided by Indian police across the entire subcontinent. It’s not surprising that everyone has kept mum.

My sincere guess is that none of the 60+ officers at Victoria Terminus could have fired their weapons even if they had wanted to. It’s the only theory that could explain why none of them did, except abject cowardice or complicity.

In the Times of London there is a revealing article (which still doesn’t definitely answer our question):

Maharashtra state, of which Mumbai is the capital, has one of India’s better police forces, but even it is woefully ill-equipped because of a centralised and highly corrupt procurement system….Some officers said that they were not given enough weapons training because of a shortage of ammunition and shooting ranges. In theory, all officers shoot 50 rounds a year in training. In practice, senior officers get their full quota with small arms….“The rest is all bunkum,” Mr Pereira said. “It’s target practice with a .303 rifle. I wouldn’t call it suitable knowledge of weapons and their uses in urban policing.” …“It’s a cartel,” Mr Singh said. “The Government is spending millions, but the police isn’t getting the equipment it needs.”

The Indian police forces need to clean up their act, get the graft out of their system, and start putting bullets back in the guns carried by their officers. And they should also stop preventing law-abiding citizens in India from being armed for their own protection.

Before the world winds up in World War III and Pakistan nukes India or the reverse, it might be wise if the Indian police forces started training and equipping their officers adequately, and establishing a legitimate path for citizens to own and carry functional firearms.

In fact the last suggestion is better than anything else given the corruption that evidently exists in the Indian police system. I don’t place much faith in that structural institutional problem being solved any time soon.