Illegal weapons manufactured in Munger in Bihar have found their way to various terror groups and criminal gangs in several parts of the country as well as to Bangladesh, officials have said.
Easy accessibility and low cost are the unique selling points of Munger’s 9mm pistols where the buyers even get a heavy discount on bulk orders. This has led to the availability of the weapons in various parts of the country especially Maharashtra, Delhi and Madhya Pradesh.
Available somewhere between Rs 15,000 and Rs 20,000 with a magazine free, the demand for Munger weapons is in Karnataka, Maharashtra, Madhya Pradesh, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal, national capital and adjoining areas and Bangladesh.
After Delhi Police cracked the botched—up Pune blasts of August 1 last year with the arrest of four persons, the recovery of Munger pistols caught the eye of Police Commissioner Neeraj Kumar, who asked his Special Commissioner (Special Cell) S.N. Srivastava to conduct a study and plug the supply of these weapons.
“I tasked an inspector who did a study of the source of weapons with the help of Munger Police,” Srivastava told PTI here while explaining the easy availability of these weapons.
Since last one year, police have recovered 74 pistols in and around the national capital from criminals and terror groups, he said, adding that during the interrogation of Feroz, an Indian Mujahideen terrorist, it was found that they had also purchased Munger weapons from Aurangabad in Maharashtra.
While the Bihar government announced closure of Munger’s factories, it failed to rehabilitate the ‘karigars’ (manufacturers) from the district, which form part of the Bhagalpur range.
One such case is of Abdullah, a manufacturer who started selling pistols from 2005. After his arrest recently by the Delhi Police’s elite Special Cell, he said that he had to get into the trade to make his ends meet.
With an elder brother (already arrested), a younger one and eight sisters, Abdullah said that he did not know any other trade other than gun manufacturing and therefore, he had to rely on this trade only to look after his family.
There have been cases where gun runners have dressed like lawyers and smuggled the weapons to Bangladesh border. “Some have been caught but its difficult to hazard a guess as to how many may have slipped out to the neighbouring country,” said a senior police official.
The Police Commissioner had tasked the Special Cell to study the growing use of sophisticated firearms over the previous 4—5 years in the commission of violent crimes in Delhi.
The study found that in most of the cases, it was illicit firearms manufactured in Munger, which were being smuggled into Delhi by organised criminal gangs based in Meerut, Kanpur, Allahabad and other places, had been used, police said.
The Munger weapons are made from specialised lathe machines which are located on the outskirts of Munger city with the first set of ‘karigars’ making various parts of the pistol, police said.
This raw material is later taken to ‘ganga khadar’ (small islands within the river) where another set of ‘karigars’ assemble the weapons for supply to the market.
“We have been in constant touch with senior officials of Munger and I have myself briefed Inspector General of Police Bhagalpur range,” says Mr. Srivastava but adds that much more needs to be done to check the organised crime which is spreading its dangerous tentacles in the country.