Gun crimes shoot up in Delhi as new gangs rule

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Gun crimes shoot up in Delhi as new gangs rule

To choke fresh routes and bust rackets active outside Delhi, cops launch big crackdown as concern over firearm violence mounts.

Criminals shot dead two men in Ranhola. A DU student was fired at thrice by car-borne assailants in Alipur. A man was gunned down for throwing a stone at a pet dog in Welcome.

The three incidents, all reported on January 6, in Delhi point to a disturbing trend: an increasing use of firearms in organised crimes, personal enemity cases or even over petty issues.

Sample these: In 2016, 745 people had been arrested in Arms Act cases in the city. The number shot up to 1,141 in 2017 and 1,901 last year, registering a sharp jump of 155% in two years. The number of Arms Act cases registered has also been going up. It was 658 in 2016, 957 in 2017 and 1,540 last year, again a rise of 134% in 24 months.

The number of guns seized in the last three years is 902, 1,381 and 1,905, a sharp jump of 111% between 2016 and 2018. During this period, Delhi has seen 2,512 gun crimes, a lot of them committed by weapons sourced from illegal factories in western Uttar Pradesh's Meerut.

"A village in Meerut called Satla has become infamous. A majority of natives buy arms from Meerut's manufacturers and deliver them to dealers, gangsters and local criminals in Delhi's Trans-Yamuna areas," said Devesh Chandra Srivastava, Joint Commissioner of Police, Southern Range.

The 52-km Trans-Yamuna belt borders Haryana's Sonipat on one end and Delhi's Madanpur Khadar village along the Yamuna on the other. Villages on this stretch such as Indirapat, Bhogal, Garhi Mandu, Usmanpur, Chiraga Somali, Nangli, Jasola and Khizrabad are new delivery points, cops have found.

Gunrunners also use prominent places such as Indraprastha Park near Sarai Kale Khan bus terminus as delivery points.

Rajiv Ranjan, Additional CP, Crime Branch, said these areas have a large number of criminals involved in street and organised crimes. "This makes these areas ideal for delivery of arms consignments," he said.

Delhi Police Spokesperson Madhur Verma said the use of firearms in crimes has come down by 11% in two years. "But gun culture is a prime concern. Curbing it has always been one of our priorities. It is seen that illegal arms are being used by petty criminals or those seeking revenge," he said.

THE CRACKDOWN

Delhi Police has put in place manual and technical surveillance on the new route and nabbed 22 suppliers in the last three months. A total of 103 gunrunners have been arrested by Delhi Police in the last three years.

Cops have launched a big operation, tracking local movements and scanning locations in Meerut, only 70 km from Delhi, where raw materials and largely unemployed but highly skilled labour have quietly shifted from Bihar's Munger.

Munger and Madhya Pradesh's Khargone were two top centres from where these guns came in bulk to Delhi-NCR.

"We have areas in mind which they use as delivery points. Subsequently, we have mounted manual and technical surveillance in these places. Cops of the southern range have managed to arrest 22 Satla gang members in different raids," said JCP Srivastava.

Cops are also scrambling for inter-state meetings so that nothing falls through the cracks.

Initially, these units came up on Meerut's outskirts but soon moved deeper and deeper, Mail Today has learnt. DCP Verma said Delhi Police is working out to break the entire network.

"Interstate meetings are being carried out to address the concern of supplies from Munger, Dhar and Khargone in MP and different districts of UP. Also, directions have been given to cops to take stringent action against those involved in these rackets," he said.