In a first, indigenously developed Ghatak rifles will be given to forest guards to combat poachers who have killed 30 of the animals in two years
The Assam Forest Department is poised to become the first non-police or non-paramilitary force to acquire the Ghatak, a multi-calibre rifle from the Defence Research Development Organisation (DRDO). It placed orders for the weapon more than a year ago. The rifle is described as a cross between an automatic close-combat weapon, such as the AK-47, and a more lethal long-range firearm.
Some consignments of the rifle have been delivered to Central paramilitary forces as well as the Assam Police. The Ghatak is yet to clear the more stringent tests of the Army, such as 18 rounds of non-stop firing, but forest officials are not worried. “Our combat situation is different from that of the Army,” they say.
Dharanidhar Boro, a highly decorated green soldier who retired in 2016 after years of fighting poachers in the Kaziranga National Park, is upbeat about Ghatak’s induction. “I am not sure how good it is but it will certainly be much better than the unwieldy 0.315 rifles with which we guarded the rhino’s best-known home,” he said from western Assam’s Manas National Park, where he is now an officer on special duty.
Courtesy: The Hindu