National Shooting Team Detained By Delhi Airport’s Customs

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New Delhi: National shooting team along with Olympian shooters Gurpreet Singh and Kynan Chenai were detained at Delhi’s Indira Gandhi International airport by the customs department for more than 12 hours on Tuesday. Customs have reportedly refused to clear their shooter guns.

The shooters, who returned after participating in the Plzen shooting Grand Prix, have been asked to stay at the airport by the customs department.

“After a 20-hour flight, we arrived at the airport at 4 am, the department didn’t clear our weapons and said we will have to wait for the customs commissioner. He was supposed to arrive at 10 am, but he didn’t come, and we didn’t get any clarity from the officials present on duty. We still don’t know the reason we have been detained. We are international shooters and have been travelling to various tournaments around the world,” said a shooter.

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Olympic gold medallist shooter Abhinav Bindra took to twitter to express his discontent. Bindra also expressed disappointment with the treatment that ‘countries’ ambassadors’ were given.

The shooter also said one of the officials used foul language with them and was rude throughout. “We were sleep deprived, hungry. When we told this to the officer there, he said ‘you won’t die if you don’t eat’. We were left speechless. “When we went for Plzen, the same department had issued us letters with their stamp and serial numbers of our guns. We have the same guns and the letters. We don’t have even a screw extra, but they don’t trust their own letters,” he added.

Among the shooters, there were a few who had missed their connecting flights to different cities. “We had booked connecting flights with a gap of 4 hours. But we had to miss the flights, as we couldn’t leave without getting the clearance,” said another shooter.

“We have a World Cup in Munich, which will start from May 17. Every day counts for us now. Today’s day has been wasted and this is going to hurt our preparation,” the shooter added.

When asked about delay in giving clearance, additional commissioner at IGIA, Amandeep Singh said they were waiting for the Directorate of Revenue Intelligence’s clearance for the same. “We had to clear some things with the revenue department and hence the delay in clearing the shooters’ guns,” Singh told TOI.

When told that the shooters are facing rude officials, he admitted the negligence by saying, “I got to know this from a few shooters there. I have told my staff to handle them with care,” he added.

According to the sources, the international shooters are being subject of scrutiny after a few national shooters were arrested for smuggling illegal pistols some days ago.

The seized weapons were later returned to the shooters.