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Import of small arms on the rise in Tarai

  Weapons a threat during polls

RAVI DAHAL

BIRGUNJ: Security agencies had months ago said small arms in the Tarai region could pose a serious threat during the elections. And now reports that candidates from different political parties and criminal groups are importing small arms from across the border have but alerted the security bodies.

Sources said that security forces’ focus on safety of the general public and overcrowded border points have made it easier for those who are sneaking such illegal weapons into the Nepali territory.

A man, who has long been involved in trading in small arms, said such weapons are easily available in Betiya, Ghodasahan, Motihari and Aasapur of India’s Bihar state. A pistol is being bought and sold at INR 10,000, said a source.

Police yesterday evening arrested Umesh Mahato, 21, in Birgunj with a pistol and a few rounds of bullets. SP Dhiraj Pratap Singh said Mahato had imported the pistol from Bihar and that he wanted to supply the weapon to an armed group.”Further investigation is under way,” SP Singh said.

About 45 days ago, the Armed Police Force had seized around 22 pistol bullets from Amarpatti border point. In the past four months, Parsa District Police Office has impounded 31 illegal arms — both small and big.

Federal Sadbhavana Party leader Shiva Patel said that criminal groups were storing illegal weapons targeting the upcoming November 19 CA elections.

“Arms and weapons are becoming a tool to win the elections,” Patel said, expressing fear at the ongoing trend.

A few days ago, Indian police had got hold of a huge cache of weapons stored in the house of Mohammad Hasrul at Ramgadhawa in India.

Locals living in the areas bordering India possess small arms in huge numbers. Parsa locals have a longstanding tradition of keeping weapons at home — either for marijuana transaction, private security or just as a hobby.

A security official said that it was a challenging job to control the weapons as locals would retaliate if raids were conducted in search of illegal weapons.

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