Pedestrian Injured In Firing

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   (2012-07-07 00:00:00)

A 47-year-old pedestrian was seriously injured when the service pistol of a Railway Protection Force constable “accidentally discharged” near Thiruvananthapuram Central railway station at Thampanoor on Friday night.

M. Radhakrishnan Nair, Assistant Commissioner, Fort, identified the injured as M. Manauf, an University of Kerala employee living at Nandavanam in the city. The bullet entered his abdomen and exited through the back, he said.

Railway personnel and local people rushed Manauf to a private hospital in the city where he was put through an emergency surgery. Doctors suspect Manauf to have sustained multiple internal injuries. They said his condition was stable, and efforts were on to prevent the onset of potentially fatal infection.

The incident occurred in front of the Railway reservation counter.

The police said RPF constable Ishakiya Pani was cleaning his 9 mm Browning semi-automatic pistol when it “accidentally” went off.

A senior ballistic expert attached to the State Forensic Sciences Laboratory said the constable could have ejected the pistol’s magazine before cleaning it. However, one round could have remained in the weapon’s chamber. The constable could have perceived the weapon as unloaded without realising that a round remained chambered. After cleaning the barrel and oiling the moving parts of the weapon, he could have tested the gun’s firing mechanism by resorting to “dry fire practice” (cocking the pistol and pulling the trigger to test the firing function without using ammunition). This could have caused the accidental discharge.

The expert said improper maintenance, poor gun safety standards, inadequate experience and training in handling firearms, manufacturing defects, and sub-standard ammunition could also cause potentially dangerous accidental discharges.

The RPF have launched their own investigation into the incident. The Thampanoor police have registered a case. In a similar incident in 2009, two policemen were injured at the Peroorkada police station when a .45 revolver wielded by one of them went of accidentally.