Crackdown mooted to reduce street crimes

| | NEW DELHI
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Crackdown mooted to reduce street crimes

Friday, 28 June 2019 | SHEKHAR SINGH | NEW DELHI

nStreet crimes and illegal firearms are 'Siamese Twins'. This adage fits the bill in the national capital as there has been a glut of criminal activities in which gangs use illegally manufactured and procured weapons. Alarmed over the spate of firearms being used by the criminals, the Delhi Police top brass have ordered its anti-terror unit — Special Cell and Crime Branch — to arrest criminals involved in these brazen incidents of crime on the streets of Delhi.

Delhi Police investigations led the sleuths to 'retailers' who supplied illegal weapons to criminals. These retailers are safely ensconced in sensitive Mewat region in Haryana and Aligarh in West Uttar Pradesh. Khargone in Madhya Pradesh and Bhawani Mandi in Rajasthan is the transit route for ferrying these arms into the national Capital.

Investigators say, "These retailers act as a mediator between criminals and manufacturers. They are in regular touch with gangsters and to evade police arrest they keep on changing their hideouts.  They converse via WhatsApp calls which are tough to detect.

Bihar's Munger district is notorious for manufacturing sophisticated but illegal arms. There are many retired engineers and craftsmen who are involved into the illicit trade of arms manufacturing. There is a readymade market for Munger made weapons.

Many of them are manufacturing it since generations and are working in illegally run fire-arms factories spread in the area. These arms manufactured in the western UP (like Meerut) and MP (like Khargone), cater to the demand of these weapons in Delhi-NCR, Haryana, Punjab, Rajasthan, UP and as far as Nepal.

The Government owned British-era gun factory in Munger was shut down four decades ago and left hundreds of workers unemployed. Faced with the challenge to eke out a living, they took to arms manufacturing in illegal units as they knew no other work.

From Gangsters, Maoists, terrorists to petty thieves, snatchers and criminals, illegal arms are much in demand and are known for its quality of craft. The price of these weapons varies according to their make, outer look and raw material used. The country- made single-shot pistol, also known as Katta, can be procured in the price ranging from Rs 3,000 to Rs 7,000, depending upon the making and material (rod/barrel) used. The cost of a pistol or a revolver hovers between Rs 15,000 and Rs 25,000.

According to Delhi Police records, it is clearly visible that Delhi has become a transit point for arms smuggling. Criminals active in Delhi and its adjoining areas buy these weapons. Till May 2019 Delhi Police had seized around 1,169 firearms, a steep rise as compared to last year's 842 weapons seizure till May 2018.   

Recently after the arrest of several arms supplier and manufacturers in national Capital, during interrogation it was revealed that in Uttar Pradesh and Madhya Pradesh a class of workers hailing from Munger in Bihar exits who have dexterity in manufacturing illegal fire-arms.

These illegal arms manufacturers have built their factories either in forest area or residential complexes where it is difficult to locate such activity. In Sardhana tehsil in Meerut and Mewat, there are many illegal arms manufacturing units.

Delhi Police officer revealed that many illegal manufacturing units have hired skilled labourers from Munger to make illegal weapons. They would procure the raw material and assemble the country made weapons like single shot firearms, sixers, pistols, single barrel gun, double barrel gun, semi-automatic rifles resembling INSAS and AK-47. You name it and the manufacturers will make it for you whichever type of firearm you want.

Though the Delhi Police might be patting its back as they claimed to have seized a large chunk of weapons and busted several weapons syndicates in and across the National capital, the questions still remains the same how these illegal weapons are coming in possession of criminals of Delhi?

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