New Delhi: Misdeeds by few of the national-level shooters have started to hurt the sport and our international shooters.
Indian shooters have been holed up inside the Indira Gandhi International Airport as a jittery customs department is unwilling to let them pass with their weapons.
Rifle/pistol shooters, who were coming after participating in Plzen Shooting Grand Prix in Czech Republic and shotgunners who were returning after participating in Cyprus World Cup have been waiting for the past eight hours to get a clearer picture to emerge.
Gurpreet Singh, Harpreet Singh, Pemba Tamang, Chain Singh, Sushil Ghale, Seema Tomar, Kynan Chenai and Ria Rageshwari are the shooters that were being held up because of this confusion.
As of now their guns and ammunition are being held by the customs, and as per the communication passed onto the shooters, it will only be released in consultation with the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence and the Customs Commissioner.
“We have been waiting at the airport since 4 AM in the morning. And we still don’t know how long they will take to clear us. It is sad that such a thing is happening in our own country,” said a pistol shooter on condition of anonymity.
Sources suggest that customs have resorted to this “harassment” tactic after the raids against renowned shooter Prashant Bishnoi after which 44 weapons and carcass of protected animals were recovered from his home and another arrest of two national shooters — Anil Jaglan and Amit Goel, who were held for trying to smuggle in 25 pistols.
Conventionally, Indian shooters used to carry a letter issued by the National Rifle Association of India (NRAI) that entailed the name of the shooter, weapon details, including calibre, make and model along with their gun licenses, gun permit issued by the host nation and the DGCA permit to fly with the weapon.
Upon arrival, the customs officer used to stamp the letter after finding all the details in order. The same letter was enough to pass through the customs for return journey.
On Tuesday, however, it was not enough as the shooters found out. “First we were told to wait for the officer, who we later found out he will not come before 10 in the morning. He now tells us the matter is beyond his purview. Now we are waiting for the customs commissioner! This is crazy,” said another shooter.
The long wait meant some of the shooters, including Chenai, had to miss their connecting flights to their hometowns.
Firstpost is now on WhatsApp. For the latest analysis, commentary and news updates, sign up for our WhatsApp services. Just go to Firstpost.com/Whatsapp and hit the Subscribe button.
Updated Date: May 09, 2017 14:11:28 IST