Spurt in weapon smuggling has security agencies on toes
Chandigarh, October 8
Already worried over the smuggling of drugs, state security agencies are facing another challenge with regard to large-scale smuggling of arms and ammunitions, especially MP9 and MP5 submachine guns, from across the border.
Nearly 200 weapons, including sophisticated ones, have been recovered in the last two-and-a-half years. On an average, one weapon was smuggled almost every third day into the state in this period.
This spurt in smuggling of weapons is quite alarming, say senior security officials, adding that there were only a few such incidences in the past.
The matter made national headlines with Pakistan-based groups using drones to drop weapons in Punjab. As per the police, drones with a capacity of carrying 10-kg payload made five sorties in early September and dropped weapons.
As per the data, 151 pistols and revolvers, besides 50 AK-47, AK-56, submachine guns and other guns have been recovered since March 2017. Also, 320 kg RDX was recovered from terror modules.
These weapons were meant for 29 terror modules busted by the state police since March 2017. As many as 147 terrorists, mostly youngsters, were arrested. Call it sheer luck or alertness of the security agencies, none of the modules could carry out a major strike. The “Shera” module of 2016-17 had carried out seven targeted killings with two pistols only.
Security officials told The Tribune another concern was joint operations by Punjab-based fringe or sleeper cells of pro-Khalistan movement with Kashmiri ultras. The police are yet to crack the mystery over some of the joint operations even as the route of smuggling the drugs from Pakistan to Punjab is not exactly mapped.
The recovery of several AK-47 guns from three Jaish-e- Mohammad terrorists in Kathua pointed out that they received weapons in Punjab. However, despite over a month after the disclosure, both Punjab and Jammu police have not been able to crack the case.
DGP Dinkar Gupta said agencies and anti-national elements settled abroad had been trying to foment trouble, but alertness of security agencies had foiled their attempts. “The recovery is a testimony to the alert security, but at the same time it is important to curb the smuggling,” he said.