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Sunday, July 22, 2012

Use of unlicensed firearms to kill rises in Maharashtra

Murders By Illegal Guns Increasing Every Year By About 30%. Experts Demand Stronger Policing To Plug Inflow Of Weapons From Outside State

    The police in Maharashtra seem to have another growing problem on their hands. According to the National Crime Records Bureau, the number of murders with unlicensed firearms increased in the state every year by more than 30% since 2009. 

    An NCRB report showed that 37 people were killed in Maharashtra in 2009 with unlicensed firearms. The next year, the figure rose by 32% to 49. And the year after that, it reached 67, a rise of 37%. Altogether, from 2007 and 2011, more than 380 people were murdered in the 
state using illegal guns. 
    Cops, not surprisingly, called the trend disturbing, particularly because Maharashtra was among the 10 worst states in this respect. In 2011, the most killings with unlicensed firearms were in Uttar Pradesh, which had a tally of 1,049. Next came Bihar (500), followed by Jharkhand(418), WestBengal (317), Madhya Pradesh (164) and Haryana (118). 
    The NCRB report showed that high tally of murders with illegal guns did not always mean high tally of killings with licensed firearms and vice-versa. In Punjab, for 
instance, 15 people were shot dead with illegal firearms in 2011 but 60 with licensed guns. The same year, in Bihar, 500 people were murdered with unlicensed guns and seven with licensed ones. 
    Closer home, in Mumbai, of the few cases where guns were used to kill people, the firearms were almost always unlicensed, according to police statistics. In 2009, the financial capital witnessed nine cases of murders with unlicensed guns. The tally remained the same the next year but grew to 12 in 2011. Till June 30 this year, one person was killed with an unlicensed firearm. 
    Former police officers claimed unlicensed firearms are flowing into Mumbai mainly from Uttar Pradesh and Bihar. "Many youngsters from these states join the world of crime in Mumbai. They then use their contacts back home to procure country-made guns called kattas," said former IPS officerturned-lawyer Y P Singh. Alternatively, foreign-made guns are procured through underworld dons operating from outside the country. 
    In other parts of Maharashtra, argued experts, illegal guns are pouring in from Bangladesh and Pakistan. Retired Thane police commissioner and state CID officer S P S Yadav said some illegal migrants from these neighbouring countries have been caught for "gun-running, fake currency rackets and drug-running". 
    Both Singh and Yadav recommended stronger policing to stem the spread of unlicensed firearms. Singh felt the police should plant infiltrators in underworld gangs and create a vast network of informers. Yadav suggested the police should trace the gunstotheir sourceeven they are outside the state. Once thesesources are plugged,the distribution network will get disrupted, he said.


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