Over 30,000 illegal firearms are estimated in the city

Over 30,000 illegal firearms are estimated in the city
Highlights

Over 30,000 illegal firearms are estimated in the city. Hyderabad was one of the very few locations which constituted a special election cell, weeks before the Model Code of Conduct (MCoC) came into place.

The police had to pull out all the stops to take possession of firearms as mandated in the Model Code of Conduct. Despite a deadline of March 15 to deposit licensed firearms in view of the elections, just 20 per cent of the holders deposited the weapons well past the deadline after notices were issued to them. However, the threat of the use of illegal firearms still looms large across the city

Hyderabad was one of the very few locations which constituted a special election cell, weeks before the Model Code of Conduct (MCoC) came into place. However, with hardly a month for the polls, the special election cell, led by Additional Commissioner Anjani Kumar, has a daunting task of containing firearms, which can be used to influence the public.
A month ago, Hyderabad Police Commissioner Anurag Sharma had called on all licensed weapon holders to deposit their arms either at police stations or at authorised arms dealers, before March 15.
“In the interest of public peace and tranquility, all the holders of arms licences, residing in the twin cities, except those persons employed on guard duty in the premises of nationalised banks, PSUs and security personnel shall deposit their weapons,” said Anurag Sharma in an order.
“Action would be initiated against the erring persons by confiscating the weapons and also prosecuting them under appropriate provisions of law. The weapons so deposited can be taken back by the licence holders on or after May 28, after completing the election process,” said the Hyderabad Police chief.
So far 4,433 weapons have been deposited, 68 impounded and 199 cancelled. At least 20 per cent of licensed weapon holders in the Hyderabad and Cyberabad Commissionerate limits failed to deposit their weapons on time. It’s only after issuing notices, demanding their explanation for failure to deposit their arms on time, the users came forward and handed over weapons.
Controlling influx of illegal firearms
However, the current task on hand is controlling the use of illegal firearms which grew astronomically in the past five years. Rough estimates with the task force say that there are about 30,000 illegal fire arms in the city and bulk of these weapons are expected to be in Old City and the outskirts where there is heavy real estate activity.
Though the taskforce police are keeping a strict vigil on the smuggling of firearms, the number of firearms entering the city is increasing. 555 illegal weapons were seized along with 1,678 bullets; 348 cases were filed against the smugglers of weapons over the period of four years. However it didn’t stem the influx of weapons.
Gangster Aziz Reddy used to supply weapons to rowdy sheeters, anti-social elements and shady realtors, before he was shot dead in an encounter in 2008. Later, few rowdy sheeters formed a syndicate and started smuggling illegal firearms that were made at Jhansi in UP, Mungra in Bihar, Barwa and Dhar in MP. A revolver made in these areas is priced anywhere between Rs 25,000 to Rs 30,000. The reports with the taskforce state that 90 per cent of the illegal fire arms are with rowdy sheeters, communal forces and realtors.
A recent trend has emerged though where realters are looking at arms made overseas. Reportedly, a realtor in Old City has smuggled Rs 15 lakh worth firearms from Belgium. In the past six months there has been an increase in weapons smuggled from Europe.
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