Guwahati: Despite the majority of the militant outfits of the state having laid down their arms and the state government has been beating the trumpet of bringing peace to the region, the availability of illegal arms in the state has been continuing to pose a major challenge for the Assam police.
In the capital city of Guwahati itself, miscreants having illegal firearms have turned out to be a major concern. More often the capital city has been witnessing incidents where unknown miscreants were looting denizens here of their valuables by brandishing arms.
On Monday itself, in two back-to-back incidents in the city, two women were looted of their valuables by unknown gunmen. While the first one was reported from the city’s Satgaon area, another similar incident occurred in Gandhibasti area here. In both incidents, bike-borne miscreants looted the victims after threatening them with life by showing off their guns.
“At least 2,473 cases under Arms Act were registered in the state since 2015,” said the official statistics of state police.
While the number of cases under the Arms Act was 511 in 2015, it started to witness a downfall in 2016 when some 423 Arms Act cases were registered in the state. It continued to dip in 2017 when the state recorded 370 cases under the Arms Act and 287 in 2018.
However, incidents where illegal arms were used shot up to 312 in 2019 and 2020. Last year, some 258 cases under the Arms Act were registered in the state in which some 186 illegal arms were used.
The state police sources claimed that the numbers were high due to the recovery of arms that were buried in several places by former militants. “We are constantly recovering such illegal arms from jungles. The majority of these arms are suspected to be used by the militant outfits which tried to conceal some of their arms even after disbanding their outfits. Gun running has been a major problem for the state,” said police sources.
On the other hand, the sources added that the recent incidents of miscreants brandishing firearms to loot from civilians in the city were possibly orchestrated by drug addicts.
“In most of the cases, we have found that the bike-borne miscreants were using youngsters. There is a possibility that drug addicts in the city have got hold of some of the illegal arms and using these arms to threaten to collect money to buy their narcotics,” police sources claimed.
However, whatever may be the reason, denizens have been complaining of a major police failure for the increase of these incidents. Amidst the rise of these incidents, Assam police have even changed the city police commissioner and several police officials.