Gun-running rampant along SW borders | The Daily Star
12:00 AM, February 19, 2009 / LAST MODIFIED: 12:00 AM, February 19, 2009

Gun-running rampant along SW borders

Demand of Indian guns high for low price

Smuggling of various kinds of firearms has picked up alarmingly in the country's southwestern region.
According to law enforcement agency sources, arms traffickers are particularly active in at least 29 points in six border districts. The districts are Kushtia, Meherpur, Chuadanga, Jhenidah, Jessore and Satkhira.
The smugglers have forged close ties with their Indian counterparts who are the gun-runners. They are well-organised and also have 'good relations' with security forces of both countries in the borders.
Police said the weapons are being supplied to other parts of the country according to demand of the buyers. A good number of the firearms are also falling into the hands of outlawed party cadres and gangs.
The illegal firearms are mostly made in China, USA, Czech Republic and India. They include eight-shooter gun, sawn-off rifle, sub-machine gun, light machine guns, pistols and Indian made arms like pipe guns, one-shooter gun, Muscat rifle and revolver etc.
Sources said the demand for Indian-made firearms is particularly high due to its price and availability.
During a recent visit to different border points in Meherpur, Chuadanga and Kushtia,
The Daily Star correspondent managed to get an idea about the rate of these firearms smuggled into Bangladesh. A sub-machine gun can sell for Tk 1 lakh to Tk 2 lakh, the price of a light machine gun starts at Tk 80,000 and can go up to Tk 1.5 lakh and a foreign-made pistol can cost Tk 50,000 to Tk 1 lakh.
Besides, various Indian-made arms can range between Tk 5,000 and Tk 25,000.
The smugglers often use at least four points in Kushtia border, five in Jhenidah, four in Chuadanga, three in Meherpur, six in Satkhira and seven in Jessore.
To conceal the weapons, the gangs usually use consignments of fruits, eggs, rice, vegetables and other items. It is alleged that the border security forces of India and Bangladesh often ignore routine checks because of underhand dealings.
Some high police officials in the region, however, admitted the incidence of arms smuggling through the border.
“We often arrest some of them and recover firearms that come from across the border but it is not enough,” said a high police official in Jessore on condition of anonymity.
The BDR recovered firearms, ammunition and bomb-making materials smuggled into the country from India in last several days.
The Rapid Action Battalion (Rab)-6 in Jessore recovered seven firearms from different places in the district. Of them, one revolver, one shooter gun, one pipe gun and two bullets from Kainyadah village in Sharsha upazila, on January 25, two American-made pistols, nine bullets and 1 kg bomb-making materials after checking the consignment of a Dhaka-bound passenger bus at Garikhana area on January 26 and one shooter gun, one pipe gun and two bullets from Bezpara area in the town.
Rab said in their initial investigation they confirmed that those were smuggled into the country through the border. Rab however, could not arrest any of the smugglers.
Maj Sarwar, camp-in-charge of Rab-6, told The Daily Star over phone that they have information of criminals involved in arms smuggling across the border in the region.
The BDR on January 31 arrested two arms traffickers and recovered an Indian-made pistol and a shooter gun with seven bullets from Jamalpur village in Daulatpur upazila in Kushtia.
Asaduzzman Miah, acting deputy inspector general of police in Khulna, said over phone that law enforcers are checking the alleged smuggling of firearms throughout the border.

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