The easy availability and influx of illegal arms is a serious matter and should not be politicized
It would be easy enough to dismiss Chief Minister Arvind Kejriwal’s claim of the city soaring high on the crime graph and the Delhi Police refuting his claim of nine murders in 24 hours as another bout of the persistent Centre-State duel. Some would even argue that the heightened rhetoric was geared towards the Assembly elections at the end of the year or early 2020 and that the Chief Minister was busy building a case for full statehood and handing over of policing powers to the State government. But that would be facetious for cold facts seldom lie. So it is that 1,169 crimes have already been recorded till May 2019 as against 842 in 2018. At least 220 bullets have been fired on the streets in 43 incidents over the last 30 days, resulting in 16 deaths. Of course, these do not include cases where victims were held at gunpoint or were waylaid, accosted, stabbed or bludgeoned. The crime map is uniform, equally prevalent in east, west, north and south. Worst, the shootings are not the result of gangland rivalries but triggered by petty issues of personal enmity, attempted robbery or snatching, even extortion, and have all taken place in the public eye.
There is no doubt about growing criminality in a stressed society as a tool for negotiation, considering that the justice redressal system is horribly compromised. But to get killed at the drop of a hat, either by strangers or friendlies, clearly is a major anomaly in the country’s capital. Except, a surgical analysis clearly shows that street crimes have proportionately increased with the entry of illegally manufactured and procured weapons. Sleuths have actually narrowed down on illegal supplier networks. These retailers are safely ensconced in the Mewat region of Haryana, Aligarh in West Uttar Pradesh, Khargone in Madhya Pradesh and Bhawani Mandi in Rajasthan. Surprisingly, retired engineers and craftsmen, too, have been drafted into the illicit trade of arms manufacturing. For example, the Government owned British-era gun factory in Munger was shut down four decades ago and left hundreds of workers unemployed. They took to arms manufacturing in illegal units as they knew no other work. Besides, Delhi itself is fast emerging as a transit hub for arms. These illegal manufacturers have built factories, taking cover in forested areas or non-descript residential complexes. Though Delhi Police might be defending itself, let it not be forgotten that the High Court has been pulling it up for not evolving an effective pan-city mechanism of crime control and instead selectively addressing complaints and more recently, scaring citizens with brutalisation. Clearly, there is a security breach.
Courtesy: The Pioneer