Glare on unabated illegal arms entry
There was a constant flow of illegal arms into Assam for militant outfits, criminal gangs and poachers, according to police records.
The records reveal that 2,171 cases were registered under the Arms Act in the state since 2014.
According to the records, the total number of cases registered in 2014 under Arms Act was 580, followed by 511 in 2015. In 2016, there were 423 cases and in 2017, 370 cases were recorded under the act. At least 287 cases were registered last year.
Police attributed the declining trend in cases to the successful counter-insurgency operations with most outfits joining the peace parleys. Sources, however, claimed that arms smugglers continue to supply to small-time criminal gangs and poachers in the state.
“Nagaon district has emerged as one of the hot favourites for gunrunners. With a number of criminal gangs active and the presence Kaziranga National Park in the district, smugglers are supplying firearms to them and poachers,” a source said.
On Monday, Nagaon police apprehended a person from Batadrava and recovered a 9mm factory-made pistol and five live ammunition from his possession. On Friday, in a joint operation by police and Assam Rifles, Mofidul Islam was arrested from Salakati Pathar under Dhing police station in the district. A 7.65mm pistol, one magazine, four bullets and one county-made grenade were recovered from Islam.
Earlier, Nagaon police, in a series of raids, had arrested six persons with firearms from Kathiatoli. They gang had shot a petrol pump manager, Raju Jain, last month and looted lakhs of money.
Nagaon superintendent of police Shankar Barata Raimedhi said, “Since January this year, we have arrested 36 people and recovered 25 firearms and 75 live ammunition. We will continue our drive against illegal arms.”
In Assam, there are some 25,000 licensed arms, out of which there are over 1,200 licensed firearms in the city alone. Most of these belong to industrialists, businessmen, politicians, private security agencies and a few sports personalities. The 9mm and 7.62mm pistols are found to be common.