Delhi violence reveals growing availability of country-made guns in National Capital; high time for Delhi Police to crack down
Eyewitnesses' accounts, medical reports of those injured and killed as well as initial investigations of the deadly Delhi violence have revealed another major concern for the Delhi Police, a growing availability of countrymade pistols or desi kattas and pistols in the National Capital
The three days of violence in Delhi saw 'widspread use of guns' besides weapons like swords, hammers, sickles, baseball bats, sticks and large stones
That pistols were readily accessible to rioters raises questions on the efficacy of the Delhi Police in throttling smuggling of illegal weapons to Delhi-NCR
The Delhi Police has had in the past seized locally made weapons multiple times during raids and has been aware of the improving quality of desi weapons
Eyewitness accounts and medical reports of those killed and injured combined with investigations into the deadly Delhi violence have revealed another major concern for the Delhi Police: A growing availability of country-made pistols or desi kattas and pistols in the National Capital.
While the image of a teen firing a country-made pistol at anti-CAA protesters at Jamia Nagar and injuring a student in January is still afresh, Delhi Police reportedly has videos and CCTV footage of rioters using pistols during the violence in northeast Delhi.
One such video of a gun-totting youth identified as Shahrukh in the clash-hit areas of northeast Delhi has already been broadcast on television news channels.
The three days of violence in the National Capital saw "widespread use of guns" and weapons like swords, hammers, sickles, baseball bats, sticks and large stones. Multiple reports have quoted the Delhi Police as having found empty cartridges (350-500) of .32 bore, 9 mm and even .315 bore pistols from the riot-hit areas in Northeast Delhi.
As Firstpost had reported on Thursday, of the 37 deaths, the details of which were released by the police on Thursday (toll has risen to 42 since then), the majority of the victims (21) died of gunshot wounds, while four each of "stabbing injuries" and "assault", three due to "assault with burns" while the cause of death was not known for four people.
Among those who died of gunshot wounds was Delhi Police head constable Ratan Lal, who was earlier suspected to have died due to stone pelting, a report in India Today said. Among the injured, reports said that at least 80 of the over 200 have received bullet injuries
Country-made pistols readily available
According to an article in Indian Express, preliminary police investigations suggest that 'petty criminals' from the district had stocked country-made pistols and bullets, and handed them out 'to unemployed youths and labourers and incited them to join the violence.
But considering Delhi is not known to have any gun factories, where did these illegal firearms come from?
Nearly five in every 10 firearms seized comes from Uttar Pradesh. Earlier, Munger, a district deep inside the badlands of southern Bihar, was considered to be the hotspot for manufacturing small arms, but recent crackdowns on illegal gun factories in Bihar and some areas in Madhya Pradesh such as Khargone and Barwani have reportedly forced the country-made pistol makers to move closer to Delhi.
That pistols were readily accessible to rioters raises several questions on the efficacy of the Delhi Police in cutting down the supply of country made weapons to the National Capital. Smuggling of illegal weapons to Delhi-NCR is not a new problem.
About 80 percent of murders in which firearms have been used involve illegal weapons, including country-made ones, points out another report in the Indian Express, adding that Meerut in Uttar Pradesh is the latest hotpot for country made pistols for Delhi gangs.
The Delhi Police has in the past seized locally-made weapons multiple times during raids. Reports also indicate that the police has been aware of the improving quality of desi weapons. In fact, in 2014, it had recovered a desi copy of the AK-47 before it was to be sold to a buyer in the National Capital.
Between 2012 and 2015, the police has registered 3,391 cases and recovered 2,585 illicit arms, mostly high quality, and 29,636 cartridges.
Citing recent investigations of the Delhi Police, a Hindustan Times report said that a country-made pistol can be reportedly bought for Rs 3,000 to 5,000 in areas such as Meerut, Shamli, and Muzaffarnagar. Automatic pistols in these same areas are reportedly available for Rs 15,000 to 20,000 per piece, it added.
It's time the Delhi Police put an end to this flourishing business of weapons smuggling to the National Capital.
Umar Khalid, Sharjeel Imam and several others have been booked under the anti-terror law in the UAPA case for being the "masterminds" of the February 2020 riots
A CCTV camera and router manufacturing and assembling company, in whose office the fire is suspected to have started, had been on the premises since 2017. Its owners: Harish and Vijay Goel, who are brothers, have already been arrested
While Jahir Khan alias Jalil (48) and Anabul alias Sheikh (32) were nabbed from Jahangirpuri on Friday, the third accused, Tabrez (40), was arrested from the same area on Saturday