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Makeshift ordnance factories at Munger once established by Nawab of Bengal, Mir Qasim mainly to counter the than East India company, gave Munger an identity for having best artisans of arms and ammunitions. However after more than 245 years, Munger earned notoriety as the culture transformed into illegal occupations- illegal gun manufacturing started flourishing as cottage industries in districts and Munger became one of the important distinction for the arms smugglers, Maoists and extremists from the country.
But the continuous recovery of assault rifle like AK-47, Munger once establishes its distinctiveness as a big supplier in country’s arms bazars. The transformation of illegal fire arms manufacturing to arms racket indeed has once tarnished Munger’s image.
The continuous recovery of weapons especially AK-47 assault rifles and cartridges from the possessions of the arms dealers, put the state police headquarters alert. According to deputy inspector general of police (DIG), Munger zone, Jitendra Mishra police again recovered one AK-47 and four magazines on Wednesday. Police has arrested three persons in this connection.
After it came to light that the case of smuggled AK-47 semi-automatic rifles involved people from four states— Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand and Madhya Pradesh—, the Union ministry of home affairs (MHA) has orders the NIA to probe the matter.
These sophisticated weapons, recently recovered from Munger, were illegally brought to Bihar from the Central Ordnance Depot (COD) at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. “The NIA team, led by DSP, NK Malviya, has begun an investigation into the case. Altogether 15 people have been arrested from Bihar and Bengal, while four people, including a retired employee of COD, have been arrested in Jabalpur. So far, 20 AK-47 semi-automatic rifles have been recovered. More recovery is likely to be made in the days to come,” a senior cop at Munger said. “After some arrests were made in Bihar and West Bengal, it came to light that some of the sophisticated weapons were sold to Maoists in Jharkhand,” the official said. The matter came to light on August 28 when the Munger police arrested a man identified as Mohammad Imran with three AK-47 rifles. Another such three weapons were recovered from an arms dealer, Shamsher Alam. After interrogating them, the Munger police, led by its SP, Babu Ram, recovered 12 more AK-47 rifles from a well in Mirzapur (in Munger) on September 28. The police then arrested a retired army jawan, Niyazur Rehman, in this connection from New Jalpaiguri in West Bengal. During the investigation, it was found that around 70 weapons, were smuggled from the Jabalpur COD. The investigation further led to the arrest of Manzar Alam from Patna, who admitted during interrogation that he used to sell AK-47 assault rifles to Maoists in Jharkhand.
Apart from Munger police , NIA has already started investigation, but yet not try to established the political nexus of the arms smugglers and arms dealers. “How it is possible to continue such big racket without the blessing of political leaders?” asked Md. Imtiyaz, a native of Munger town.
Old times at Munger recall local goons, Maoists and other criminals at Munger always have the privileges to enjoy under the umbrellas of politicians, preferably local influential leaders. “During assembly polls of 2005, K J Roy, the than consultant to Election commission of India, during his surprised visit to Jamui district caught a candidate red-handed with arms and ammunition. The leader was caught while capturing polling booths. The arrested person was the brother of an influential leader of the areas. When local police started investigation, some arms and weapons including cells were recovered from the vehicle of the leader. Later it was established that the cells found in the vehicle of the leader were matching with the serial number of that cells which were recovered from Bhimband forest covers when Maoists killed the than superintendent of police, K C Surendar Babu on January 5, 2005,” recalled Payaralal, a former journalist at Munger.
According to Payaralal, the investigative officials were surprised and claimed that the cells were from ordnance factory having same batch numbers and hence they were ready to find the links of the leader with Maoists. The leader had develop confrontation with the slain SP, Surendar Babu and wanted his transfer from the district before polls. “But due to the influence of the brother of the leader and his high level connections, the matter was suppressed,” Payralal recalled.
Prior to the incident, some automatic foreign made fire weapons were brought in broken state and the craftsmen at Munger repaired the weapon. A former influential leader was in the deal of the repairing of the arms which were airdropped at Purulia (Bengal) in the famous Anadmarg arms dropping incident in early nineties. “The incident was very amazing not because the skills of the craftsmen here but the dealing that was done by the politician,” recalled Gopal Kumar, an advocate at Munger.
“We are probing the matter with all angles, let us hope for better,” commented a senior cop.