Weapons from state armouries sold to anti-national elements

Weapons from state armouries sold to anti-national elements

Weapons from state armouries sold to anti-national elements

The National Investigation Agency (NIA) suspects that rebels who were engaged in a skirmish with the Army on the Myanmar border were using weapons and bullets pilfered from official armouries of state police forces across the East and North-East.

Concerned with the finding, the agency has alerted the government about pilferage of large quantity of ammunitions and firearms which have reached Maoists, rebel groups in the North-East and other anti-national elements.

NIA investigation since May has revealed that as many as 75 firearms, 62 magazines and around 26,000 rounds of ammunition have been stolen and reached militants.

A sizeable portion of this reached NSCN(K) and NSCN(U) in Nagaland and extremists in Myanmar, the report pointed out.

The cautionary note, available with Deccan Herald, was compiled in August and sent to state government thereafter.

The “Eyes Only” note, meant for chief secretaries of concerned states, was issued by N S Bisht, Under-Secretary of the Union Home Ministry. The note is also marked to Joint Secretary (Home) and Joint Secretary (Defence Production) under the Ministry of Defence. The note on “pilferage and misappropriation of arms and ammunition” asks it to be shared with district superintendents of police “for taking necessary action”.

“It has been noticed that there have been instances of irregularities in state police armouries, which include stealing of live cartridges and possibility of ammunitions finding way to anti-national elements/Maoist and other militant groups,” it stated.

It also pointed a finger at the lack of a “laid down procedure for disposal of empty cartridges”. “Instead of destroying all received empty cartridges, some are sold off to scrap dealers and middlemen without crushing,” it stated. The note pointed out that while five people, including armourers and scrap dealers, were recently arrested from places like Moradabad, Aligarh, Kanpur and Saharanpur in UP, the NIA has already registered a case against a sub-inspector of Nagaland Armed Police for misappropriating “huge quantities of arms and ammunition” and selling them to “underground groups, namely NSCN(K) and NSCN(U)”. It is believed many of these weapons made their way into Myanmar.

While Commissioner Surajit Kar Purakayastha of the Kolkata Police said that nothing like this has been detected in Bengal, an official with the West Bengal home department admitted that some police weapons did reach Maoists in Jangalmahal region during the days of regular conflicts with security forces between 2008 and 2010. “Much of these weapons were stolen by rebels from raids on police armouries and from injured policemen,” he said. An additional director general of West Bengal Police agreed the findings “are indeed alarming”.