Delhi seems to have become an arms bazaar. Firearms of any make from a revolver to an AK-47 can be bought at an “affordable” price in the national capital. It is as easy as buying a non-prescription medicine from a chemist. The growing menace can be gauged from the fact that incidents of firearms being used in ordinary crimes have been on the rise. In one such recent incident, a policeman was fired at by a criminal. It is a reflection of the worsening crime situation in the capital. Most of these weapons reach the capital mainly through gun-runners who have their suppliers across the border.
These weapons, mostly made in China, reach the capital through the India-Pakistan and India-China borders. Terrorist outfits in Pakistan and insurgent groups with their base in Myanmar are the primary sources of these weapons. The easy availability of sophisticated weapons has changed the profile of criminals. There was a time when they used country-made weapons with doubtful efficiency and lethality. Today, they have access to weapons which even the policemen do not have. This endangers the security of citizens also. What’s worse, one of the main reasons of crime and killing in the US is the easy availability of firearms. If the present trend is allowed, a time will come when students would carry weapons to schools and colleges even in India.
True, the number of seizures of firearms and ammunition has been increasing. For every weapon that is seized, several reach the buyers. In other words, seizures, however welcome, are not very confidence-inspiring. What is required is the total elimination of the illegal market of weapons and ammunitions. The market cannot thrive without the connivance of at least a section of the security forces. This link needs to be broken. The police should come down heavily against the gun-runners. What is needed is nothing short of zero tolerance towards them and their benefactors.