Armour Piercing Bullet

Days after the Jaish-e-Mohammed (JeM) terrorists stormed the CRPF group centre in Pulwama and killed 5 jawans, the security forces claim to have decoded the mode of attack

The Fidayeens were armed with Kalashnikovs and Under-barrel Grenade Launchers (UBGL) during the December 31 attack. The bullets used by these terrorists were Armour Piercing (AP), which can pierce body armour. The rounds proved fatal for one CRPF personnel as the bullet pierced his bulletproof shield.

While it was reported that "Such bullets have been used by terrorists for the first time in India", CRPF DG RR Bhatnagar confirmed it wasn't the first instance.

The same bullets, said Bhatnagar, were used in another encounter on the District Police Line (DPL) Pulwama. At least 8 jawans had lost their lives in the encounter.

"AP bullet is being used leading to penetration of the improvised ballistic shield," said a source, effectively meaning that the bullet had pierced the bullet proof jacket.

We are aware about the bullet piercing the shield. It is now being examined by ballistic experts in Delhi, said the DG while adding that the same is being simultaneously studied by the Jammu and Kashmir Police as well.

CRPF Inspector General, Ravideep Shahi, confirmed that in both instances, armour piercing bullets were used. "In the CRPF camp attack, the shield was pierced only because the bullet was fired from close range. In August 2017, three bullets were fired from the AK, two on the sides and one right on the gate, but the bullets did not penetrate the vehicle."

Shahi, who was inside the vehicle, was shot from a distance of 800 metres in the August 2017 Pulwama encounter. The recent Lethpora attack was from a close range, which sources in the security force now see as security hazard.

"There is level four protection but in this case we are still in process of upgrading the level of security," he said.

The IG mentioned that as a step to enhance safety measures, CRPF has already been provided the new light weight bullet proof jackets. "Thenew bullet-proof jackets have been distributed while some are still on its way to Kashmir. Similarly, the force is processing bullet-proof vehicles as well," said Shahi.

High level sources also indicate that there has been anxiety about Lethapora Camp being under terror radar. The officer said that though there is an audit done internally and by an external agency about security of the parameter, the headquarter could have given them advice on sprucing up security in a better way. Defending the soldiers, the top officer said, "The CRPF men fought valiantly. There is always scope for better security grid."

Since the death of Burhan Wani, security forces have had two tough years 2016 and 2017. But the force believes 2018 will be no different and their aim is to be prepared in a better manner.

While the CRPF looks to plug in loopholes, Jaish has reinvented its strategy using IEDs. The force suspects that Saturday's attack, which claimed lives of four cops, will be part of series of attacks unleashed by the Pak-based terror organisation.

Jaish sources have hired IED experts which will help the terror organisations hit out at security forces with lethal strike without indulging in stray grenade attacks or suicide or Fidayeen attacks.