Despite strict gun law, gunrunners have Delhi Police worried

"The Capital should be free from the tag of being a transit point and consumption point of illegal arms," a senior officer quoted Police Commissioner saying to his men.

The Capital's trigger-happy criminals have the police worried and the top cop has now asked his men to chase down gunrunners. Data show a big jump in firearms usage in both street crimes and heinous offences such as murder. Youngsters in particular are brazenly supplying and using illegal firearms, say top officers at the police headquarters.

Sources say police commissioner Amulya Patanik, who took charge about a month ago, instructed his department's licensing unit to be careful about issuing and renewing arms permits. Since then, the process has become more stringent.

"The Capital should be free from the tag of being a transit point and consumption point of illegal arms," a senior officer d Patnaik saying to his men. funfacts

FACTS YOU NEED TO KNOW

  1. India has some of the strictest gun laws in the world, a remnant of British rule, which aimed to disarm its subjects. But illegal weapons are prevalent, largely in the backwoods.
  2. The data in possession with Mail Today reveals that in 2016, as many as 775 illicit firearms and 7,251 ammunition were seized in the city. The previous year, 431 firearms and 5,153 ammunition were confiscated.
  3. Also, the percentage of firearms usage in murders in the city has also went up from 13 per cent to 15 per cent.
  4. Sources say a countrymade pistol can be purchased in the Capital for Rs3,000 to Rs40,000. The price of an AK-47 is around Rs2.5 lakh, Walther PPK pistols come for about Rs3 lakh, Mauser pistols for Rs50,000 and self-loading rifles (SLRs) for around Rs1.5 lakh.

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SPECIAL TEAMS FORMED

Apart from the district police, the department's special cell and crime branch have been asked to nab gunrunners. Requesting anonymity, a senior officer told Mail Today: "A special team has been formed in each district to keep tabs on the entire chain illegal firearms supply. Comprehensive details will then be shared with the senior officials and accordingly plans will be made to put an end to the supply of illegal firearms in the city."

Another senior officer in the special cell said a recent study on the source of the illegal firearms seized by Delhi Police revealed areas such as Khargone, Pachori and Datepahari in Madhya Pradesh as well as neighbouring districts are fast turning into manufacturing hubs with the guns then smuggled to crime-prone states like Delhi, Uttar Pradesh and Bihar by a tribe called the Sikligars.

Members of this blacksmith Sikh community have been making guns for generations. Several of these illegal weapon manufacturers have been arrested in MP over the years.

The Naxals are among their biggest clients.

During a meeting with Patnaik, sleuths from Madhya Pradesh's special task force reportedly informed him that the dense forest and treacherous terrain discourages the police from going after the gunrunners.

Patnaik, sources said, officially communicated with Madhya Pradesh Police to conduct a joint operation in the area.

Police sources said the Sikligars' expertise lies in making exacts replica of a Mauser pistol, which is a semi-automatic firearm, originally made by a German arms manufacturer of that name.

"Various lathe machines are being used by these manufacturers to make these illegal firearms," said a senior police officer.

"Pistols manufactured by them are of high quality and sophisticated and it is difficult to differentiate these illegally manufactured pistols from imported ones. They send the weapons to Delhi through their carriers and at times they use children and women to deliver arms."

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