A major diplomatic row could have erupted had any of the 10 bullets fired by a Kolkata Police constable hit a staffer of the Bangladesh Deputy High Commission outside which he was posted, a senior official posted at the neighbouring countrys high commission in New Delhi said.

Even as security agencies continue their probe into the shooting that left a young woman dead and two others injured, the Bangladesh High Commission has taken up the matter with Indian officials.

"It is certainly a matter of concern. From what we have come to know, the policeman had received treatment for a mental illness barely a couple of months ago. Even after that, he was issued a weapon and posted outside a foreign mission. The police are saying that he fired 10 rounds at others before shooting himself. A staffer from the Deputy High Commission could have been hit. This may have led to an embarrassing situation," the Bangladeshi official said.

Chodup Lepcha, the constable, was a traffic policeman till about a month ago. He was recently posted to the Kolkata Armed Police's 5th Battalion and issued a Self-Loading Rifle (SLR) that fires the deadly 7.62 mm round.

The SLR, developed by Rifle Factory Ishapore (RFI) before the 1965 India-Pakistan War, is a 'one shot, one kill' weapon. The Insas Rifle, developed later, is a 5.56 mm semi-automatic rifle and is the mainstay of security forces across the country.

Experts say that Rima Singh, the young physiotherapist from Howrah, may not have died had a 5.56 mm bullet hit her. This round is meant to incapacitate rather than kill a person outright.

"We are appalled at what happened. We are carrying out our own probe. We think that other policemen posted nearby should have reacted much faster. He wasn't firing an automatic weapon and must have taken a while to fire 10 rounds. There ought to have been movement immediately after the first round was fired. Such a weapon makes a lot of noise. This could have been a terrorist strike and had policemen reacted in the manner in which they did, the Deputy High Commission would have been at great risk. We are discussing all this with security agencies," another Bangladeshi diplomat said.

It has been over two days now but the police have still not arrived at any conclusion as to why Lepcha behaved in the manner in which he did. His father was also a policeman who died in harness. The young man from Kalimpong in north Bengal was then appointed on compassionate grounds.

"We have a lot of people from the Hills in the Force. They are considered disciplined and highly motivated. Maybe, this belief worked in Lepcha's favour during his last posting. This is a learning for us all. Maybe, more checks will have to be carried out before personnel are posted at vital locations," a Kolkata Police officer said.

Source : IANS

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