Millennium Post

BOOMING GUN CULTURE

Violent use of guns in contemporary times seems to have unsettled peace across the national capital – the authorities need to curtail the supply of illegal firearms

BOOMING GUN CULTURE

Whether it is robbery, snatching, murder or any form of the heinous crime, criminals are not hesitating to use the firearms on the victims. Easy availability of firearms to criminals a cause of worry for city police. "The problem of illicit firearms and their use is becoming worse with every passing year. The reasons why people go in for illegal arms vary from person to person, though most who seek illegal arms are petty criminals or those seeking revenge," reads Delhi Police annual report 2018.

Recently the street of the city witnessed several incidents which proved gun culture booming in the National Capital. CCTV footages captured various inexplicable and spine-tingling incidents where trigger-happy criminals strike fear in Delhi. Though police busted several gangs involved in the supply, manufacturing of illicit weapons but the investigation revealed that arms demand still there.

Deputy Commissioner of Police (New Delhi) Madhur Verma said that all the teams of Delhi Police dedicatedly work to break the supply chain of illegal weapons. Apart from local police, Special Cell and Crime Branch are continuously working to curb the crime. "We have made big catches. Several criminals were arrested and weapons were seized," said Madhur Verma.


Firing incidents

Two unidentified assailants fired three shots at a reporting team from a news channel on the Barapullah flyover in New Delhi on Sunday, 9 June.

The incident took place when the team – a reporter, cameraman and driver – were in the cab. Meanwhile, when they reached the Barapullah flyover two armed men on a motorbike approached their car. On seeing a pistol in the bike rider's hand, the crew tried speeding, on which the biker fired at their car. The first bullet hit the gate, second hit the driver side window and the third one missed. Later the Crime Branch arrested two accused —Tayyab and Shahid in the robbery bid. Deputy Commissioner of Police (Crime) Dr G Ramgopal Naik said after any violent incident reported in the city, they start their investigation. "We scan different records and modus operandi of criminals. Several teams are formed to nab accused," said DCP Crime.

In May, two criminals were shot dead in firing in the busy streets under Dwarka Mor metro station. The investigating agency said that one of the criminals was killed by the rival whereas the other gangster was shot dead by alert PCR personnel. The 12 seconds CCTV footage of the alleged incident shows that two men including one of them wearing helmet fired indiscriminately in a white Ritz car. "One of the assailants was shooting from the front of the car and another one at the driver's gate," CCTV shows. Further, one of the criminals take out his helmet and went inside the Swift car. The commuters, who were earlier seeing the horrific, started leaving the spot. Later in an encounter, a 20-year-old gangster and a policeman were injured in Bawana area on Friday. Police said that the injured accused was involved in the recent gang war reported from Dwarka Mor. Special Cell arrested one accused in the case. Later Dwarka district arrested a person believed to be a conspirator in the case. In June five persons were gunned down by assailants in different parts of the city in 24 hours. Police said that personal enmity was the reason behind the killings. Later after investigation, several arrests were made.

In June a 35-year-old jeweller was shot dead in Outer Delhi's Ranhola area. In April an eatery owner was shot by a customer with whom he had an argument on mobile charging in East Delhi's Ashok Nagar.

Last year a 38-year-old woman (teacher) was shot dead in Rohini when she was going to her government school in Haryana. The city police solved the case and arrested several persons including the deceased's husband and his paramour.

In an alleged celebratory firing in East Delhi's Mandawali, a 19-year-old bride was shot in her own marriage function in January this year.

At the starting of 2019, a 45-year-old woman architect was shot in the head, allegedly by a former MLA from Bihar, at a New Year's party at a farmhouse in south Delhi. The woman later died and accused in the case were arrested.

A 30-year-old man was shot dead by the owner of a dog in Delhi allegedly after he threw some stones at the animal in North East Delhi.

Delhi Police Data

In the year 2016, as many as 912 cases were reported in which firearms were used. In 2017 nearly 848 such cases registered with the law enforcement. Last year in 752 cases arms used. In the year 2016, nearly 902 firearms were recovered. In 2017 as many as 1,381 firearms and last year 1,905 firearms were recovered. The Delhi Police data of the current year (till June 15) revealed that as many as 1,074 cases under the Arms Act reported. Around 1,262 persons were arrested. "Nearly 1,119 firearms, 4,206 ammunition and 323 sharp-edged weapons recovered, " added Delhi Police data.

In a crime review meeting, the Delhi Police Commissioner Amulya Patnaik had asked senior officers regarding stern action to curb street crime involving the use of firearms. As many as 33 unsolved heinous cases in the current year were the major highlights of the recent crime review meeting between Delhi Police Commissioner and 15 districts, units in June. Police sources said that the top cop reviewed the reasons behind the pendency of the cases and directed officers to solve them as soon as possible.

Investigators said that the before committing any shoot out every detail of the crime is planned out well in advance. The associates of the criminals keep an eye on the movements of the rival members and provide live tracking information to their gang. "In open places, there are chances that the rival gang member can flee by speeding the vehicle but in busy places possibility of slowing down vehicle or traffic snarls are there which give gangsters time to commit the crime and flee the spot," investigator said.

In many cases, criminals are found not using mobile phones. They connect to each other with internet calls to hoodwink police. Another officer said," they want to establish supremacy."

Arms Trafficking

Investigators in Delhi Police told Millennium Post probe revealed that from Dhar, Khargone, Burhanpur, Sendhwa, Munger, arms being smuggled to different parts of the country. A police officer said that due to their constant pressure in Bihar gunrunners have changed their locations. "We have found that raw materials for arms are being manufactured in one state. Later the raw materials trafficked to another state for weapon assembling," police said. The arms are then sent to different parts of the country (transit points) for further supply to gangsters or criminals. Another police officer added that the investigation revealed that Munger-made illegal weapons are more sophisticated." The gun runners have expertise in making weapons. The quality of Munger made weapons are much superior," officer added.

Name & fame

Investigators are in Delhi Police found that youths from rural parts in Delhi-NCR are getting attracted towards gangsters. "Try to impress girlfriends or to frighten people living in the locality are a few reasons why youngsters are keeping arms with them," said an investigator.

"During the investigation, we found that budding criminals belong o the poor background. Lack of strong emotional bonds

with parents is also one of the reasons for them to move towards crime," added the officer. "Some movies glorify gangsters, youths can be affected by the violence," said an officer.

Another trend which is seen in recent days that people are posting their pictures or videos with arms in social media. Another trend which is seen in recent days that people are posting their pictures or videos with arms in social media. In April, a 19-year-old man was shot dead, allegedly by his friend, inside the car the two, along with a friend. Police claimed that the shot was fired while filming a video for the application. In the first week of June, Dwarka district apprehended a juvenile after a video emerged on social media in which a boy was seen firing at the house. Later the juvenile shared the video through social media amongst his known to make an impression on them. In another case, the team of special staff (Dwarka) under Inspector Naveen arrested two persons who posted their dance videos brandishing pistols in hands-on social media. Both used to roam on roads and enter into social functions with arms and brandish these to impress upon the other boys.

Weapons industry

The manufacturing of illegal weapons is not a big thing. Recently special cell team under DCP Manishi Chandra arrested two persons involved in the illegal activity. "The accused disclosed that the trade in illicit firearms has been inherited by them as hereditary occupation and they have been involved in last 10 years," police said adding that their family members manufacture illegal arms at a cottage industry and they are supplied to various parts of the country. The accused used iron scrap and other materials to prepare .32 bore semi-automatic pistols. To set up a cottage industry all that is required is furnace with a fan, some brass metal rods, iron plates, cycle frame/tods, spring made from iron wire/line taken out from tyres of heavy vehicles and a lathe machine and filers of different numbers to smoothen the assembled parts of the pistol.

According to investigators the whole process cost around Rs 6000 to 7000. One finished pistol cost Rs 25,000. "The pistol rate is Rs 4000-5000 but the middlemen sold it at the high price," added investigator. Recently the team of under DCP (Special Cell) Pramod Singh Kushwaha

led by ACP Attar Singh arrested three criminals with 21 semi-automatic pistols from Ghazipur area in East Delhi. Investigators have also found that new faces

are used arms traffickers for the transportation of weapons in the city. "The illegal business of arms trafficking runs on the formula of demand and supply," added police officer.

New modus operandi

The investigators revealed that arms traffickers mainly use social media applications to connect with each other. According to police, the gun runners adopt the break journey technique. "The criminal never used direct transport from any state. They can board train and after few railway stations they may take the bus to reach the destination," investigators said.

Abhay Singh

Abhay Singh

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