An 18th century firing technique called 'bharmar' (muzzle loading) was used by Naxalites to launch the deadly attack which claimed the lives of top Congress leadership in Chhattisgarh last Saturday.
A squad of Naxalites, comprising 100-odd 'jan militia', an armed Maoist cadre with basic training, swooped down with these age-old guns on Congress leaders' convoy traversing through a jungle the Bastar region and fired innumerable volleys killing people and crippling vehicles.
A 'bharmar' is a muzzle loading firearm, used in the 1830s and 1840s, into which the gunpowder and the explosive are loaded crudely from the barrel of the gun and then fired with an igniting jolt.
The archaic weapon, only reported to be used by Maoists now-a-days in the country, weighed heavy in the gunbattle where personal security officials of Congress leaders were reported to have fired from their modern rifles.
According to police officials, a muzzle-loading gun needs manual replenishment of explosives after every fire and is different from the staccato and precision firing of an AK series rifle or the modern MP5 gun.
Twenty seven people, including senior Congress leader Mahendra Karma, PCC chief Nand Kumar Patel and 31 others, were killed in the Naxal ambush.
If Maoists could inflict such casualties such archaic weapons, it is anybody's guess what would have been the result had they been equipped modern automatic arms.