“Man is made or unmade by himself; in the armory of thought, he forges the weapons by which he destroys himself. He also fashions the tools with which he builds for himself heavenly mansions of joy and strength and peace.”
– Dorothy Thompson
This thought provoking statement has been come true in this era, when arms trading has become an essential element in the International Forum. With the importance of the possession of Arms growing to such heights, it has resulted in illegal arms trade becoming an extremely prevalent feature, globally.
Arms’ trading is the practice of manufacturing, buying, or selling weapons, armaments, military equipment, or the raw materials to make weapons. An astonishing study has revealed that over 500 million weapons are in circulation and 40 percent are illegally traded.
According to the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, India ranks 10th among the countries having the highest Defense Budget, with $30 billion being spent, every year. Shockingly, India has been home to major illegal arms trafficking in the past few years. So, who are we arming up against? The World? Or the Society?
Between 2001 and 2006, 73 illegal weapons were seized in Ahmedabad, with the number of arrests under The Illegal Arms Act, seeing a three-fold increase. On being interviewed by the Times Of India, P.K.Jha, Additional Police Commissioner, Ahmedabad, was noted saying, “Illegal arms movement happens mostly from states like Bihar, UP and Madhya Pradesh, where these indigenous weapons, known as ‘Tamanchas’ in local parlance, are freely available. These firearms change hands in Gujarat as the profit margins are impressive here.”
Illegal country-made pistols were found to be used extensively for murder, kidnapping, loot and various other criminal offenses. In fact, illegal arms trade seemed to work out well for livelihood and easy money.
In 2008, owing to a major operation by the Army’s Liaison Unit and the Kolkata police’s Detective Department, several illegal arms dealers were caught red-handed, with nine US made automatic weapons being recovered from them. They were found to be “Inter-state Gun Runners”. Huge amounts of fire arms and ammunition were also seized from another Dealer in Kolkata, exactly a week before this incident.
Such incidents not only show the extent to which Illegal Arms Trade has been flourishing in our country, but also the loophole in the Security System, due to which this started occurring. It is an understood fact that unless there is support from some powerful being, such crimes cannot sprout suddenly.
Another piece of information, which would well support my statement, would be a finding a few years back, showing the increase in the prices of guns just before the General Elections. Through a coverage by The Telegraph, the arms dealers were found to claim that the spike in demand was attributed to the various political factions arming themselves.
“There is good demand during elections and both the CPM and the Congress buy them. That is why we have almost doubled the prices now. We test the fitness of each piece we sell, if a bullet turns out to be dud, we return half the money charged through the linkman,” said an illegal dealer.
He further said that each round of bullet fetched Rs 150 to Rs 200, pipe-guns were Rs 1,000 a piece, and single-shotters between Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000.
With about 714 million voters estimated that year, I feel that a grand show of weaponry and assault might have seemed super essential for the political factions to assert themselves as being the most superior!
Illegal arms trade and easy availability of smuggled weapons adds to the deterioration of law and order in the country, fuels the increasing crime-rates, and accounts for thousands of deaths, in and around the War Zones. The extent of arms smuggling has also reached heights in Pakistan, where pistols were found to be given on rent. “A pistol that costs around 20,000 rupees can now be acquired on rent for 150 rupees an hour… if a person has the right references. Most people get pistols on rent on the pretext that they want to use them at weddings, but they instead use them for roadside snatching. It’s just like renting a motorbike,” The Daily Times quoted a member of a local gang, as saying.
It is high time that strict actions be taken to bring this large scale activity to an end, with strong security measures being the need of the hour. Regulation of the manufacture of Arms and ammunition, controlling the stockpiling, dismantling the trafficking networks, addressing the root causes of soaring crime rates, could be some of the measures taken by the Government to rid the society of the growing danger, and give more space for Peace and Prosperity to prevail. Global security is at risk, and let’s hope that amendments are done internationally before it is too late.
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