From ‘kattas’ to Berettas, who is running guns into Delhi?

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BY ZAFAR ABBAS
New Delhi, July 11 (IANS)
“Illegal weapons seized” might be a headline you see in Delhi newspapers too often, indicating firearms are freely making their way into the national capital. These come not only from the NCR but also from as far away as the illicit manufacturing hub of Bihar’s Munger and the repercussions can be seen on the city’s streets with the activities of trigger-happy criminals.
Though Delhi Police’s Special Cell and Crime Branch have time and again busted gunrunning rackets and arrested manufacturers and suppliers, the question remains if enough is being done to curb the flow of illegal fire-arms.
As per figures, a total of 1,047 cases under Arms Act were registered in Delhi till June 15 as compared to 1,074 cases in the same period in the previous year. The data is worrying because it only shows a marginal decline this year despite the countrywide lockdown since March 24 and limited relaxations thereafter, which should have made the influx of illegal weapons more difficult for the criminals.
On Saturday, a murder convict who was out on parole was apprehended by the Crime Branch and a Taurus Beretta of Brazilian make recovered from him. The source of the weapon is being investigated but the fact that how easily a criminal out on parole could lay hands on such a sophisticated weapon is alarming for the law enforcement agencies.
In the recent riots in northeast Delhi, police had registered several cases under the Arms Act.
Later, in a suspected gang war between two rival groups in Jafrabad area in May, two men were brutally shot dead. In another case in the same month, in one of the deadliest shootouts which was caught on camera, members of a gang gunned down two of their rivals in broad daylight. One of the shooters was subsequently gunned down by police.
With Bihar’s Munger under constant vigil of security agencies for its infamous illegal gun manufacturing factories, there is evidence that crafty workers are shifting base to avoid detection. What is worrying the security agencies is the fact that they are moving closer to the capital.
In 2018, the busting of an illegal weapons factory at Uttar Pradesh’s Meerut by Special Cell supports the theory. Many of the arrested workers were from Munger and had moved to the NCR in search of easy money and lower risk. In January 2020, another illegal weapon-making factory was busted in Meerut and 60 pistols seized.
In June this year, Delhi Police’s Special Cell and Aligarh police busted an illegal arms factory running from Baba colony in Aligarh, and arrested six people.
After this operation Delhi Police spokesman M.S. Randhawa had said: “Setting an excellent example of interstate police cooperation, the coordinated and timely efforts of Special Cell of the Delhi Police and Aligarh police led to the unearthing of a factory used for manufacturing illegal firearms, which was a source of incessant supply of illegal arms to the criminals of Delhi and other states.”
The price of a sophisticated pistol varies from Rs 4,500 to RS 15,000 depending upon the quality of the product. To curtail the weapon flow, there is a need to strengthen information networks, break the supply chain and act strictly against the source of the gun running rackets.

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