Policemen watch a trainer performing martial arts at the Dali grounds in Darjeeling on Monday. (Suman Tamang)
Darjeeling, Oct. 15: Darjeeling police are being taught to lock, kick and punch, not just wield a baton.
Police personnel below the age of 35 today started a week-long martial arts training programme.
Each training batch will have 30 policemen from different areas of the district who will be sweating it out for almost 13 hours a day to learn the basics of karate, judo and kung-fu.
The training session that started from 6am today at the Dali grounds would continue till 7pm. It includes an hour-long lunch break and small tea breaks in between.
Apart from martial arts classes, there’s rock and wall climbing, room intervention (to catch offenders hiding in closed spaces) and crowd management training lined up.
Kunal Aggarwal, the superintendent of police, Darjeeling, said: “It is a one-week martial arts module laying stress on learning karate, judo, kung-fu and unarmed combat to make the personnel strong enough to ward off any kind of threat or attack without relying on lathis and arms.”
The training is being conducted by a martial arts team from the Karate Association of Bengal.
“The module is being conducted by a team of 10 international champions, all of whom are black belts. The team is being led by Sensei Anil Rai, a 16 times champion and a gold medalist in various international competitions,” said Aggarwal, who decided to introduce the course.
Two other experts will train the policemen in rock and wall climbing.
The second batch of 30 personnel would start training next month.
It is yet to be seen how effective a week’s training turns out to be, but a police officer who attended the session today said he found it useful.
“They are teaching us techniques like locking a person (so that he cannot attack), breaking group fights and demonstrations. These are bound to be useful in the coming days,” he said.
According to Rai, the focus of the training would be to help the policemen catch mischief mongers without causing grievous injuries to them.
“If one learns martial arts, a person will be equipped to negate violent people without causing grievous harm. We will be focusing in providing such training. The other aspect of our training is to build physical strength,” said Rai.
He had also conducted a similar training programme for army personnel at Binnaguri in Jalpaguri district some time back.
Darjeeling police have 1,800 personnel on its rolls and there are plans to cover the entire lot who are less than 35 years old.
“There must be around 600 personnel in this age group. We are planning to have the week-long training session at least once a month till we cover all the personnel,” Aggarwal said.
Drug peddler arrested
Dipesh Thapa, 24, a resident of Haridashatta in Darjeeling, was arrested on Sunday evening for allegedly peddling drugs.
L.T. Bhutia, the inspector in charge of Darjeeling police station, said: “We have recovered 47 purias (sachets) from him and we are confident that these contain heroin. Thapa was involved in peddling.”
Each sachet is sold for around Rs 100 and the packets had a total of 6gm of heroin.