Small arms posing grave threat to security

Kathmandu, April 30

The illicit proliferation and misuse of small arms and light weapons is posing a serious threat to security in the Kathmandu Valley. Officials fear smuggling and easy availability of such firearms is likely to give rise to criminal activities if timely action is not taken.

Police have seized six firearms over a period of last seven months. This is a testimony to the growing gun culture in the Valley. Though the small arms are rarely used in killing, criminal gangs possess them to threaten the victims of extortion, kidnapping and robbery.

Police arrested Bishwa Kranti Singh (44), a permanent resident of Hetauda-4 of Makwanpur, an alleged gangster, with a shotgun, a 375-bore rifle, 158 bullets, brown sugar and loan deeds from his rented house in Sanepa, Lalitpur on April 5. He had been unleashing terror in Lalitpur for the past few years through his direct and indirect involvement in gang fight, extortion, hooliganism and drug peddling.

The large weapons confiscated from his house were illegal and unlicenced.

On April 23, Police nabbed Karsang Lama (21) of Kavre, an alleged arms trader, in possession of a loaded pistol from Shantinagar, Kathmandu. Lama was held with a pistol and five bullets that he was about to sell to a criminal group active in the Valley.

Police arrested Bibek Gurung (27) of Malingtar, Lamjung, currently residing at Ganeshbasti of Maharajgunj, Kathmandu, with a pistol and three bullets on Wednesday. Officials also confiscated Rs 261,000 in cash and 25 pieces each of Dizepam, Phenargone and Nurphine from him who was found to have involved in trafficking of small arms and drugs.

Despite the law enforcement agency’s efforts, smuggling and illegal trade of small arms continues unabated Valley. According to the police, the rise in smuggling of small arms into the Valley has resulted in surge of crimes like murder‚ extortion, abduction and robbery. Small arms are mainly smuggled into Nepal through the southern border, while people continue to possess homemade arms, especially katuwa, bharuwa banduk and socket bomb in the remote areas of the country.

According to sources‚ a pistol fetches arms smugglers up to Rs 100‚000, depending on the need of the prospective clients‚ who are mostly extortionists or members of organised criminal gangs. The porous Nepal-India border has provided a safe passage for illegal arms traders. A recent research conducted by Small Arms Survey, Nepal Armed Violence Assessment and Interdisciplinary Analysts in 2013 has estimated that the Valley alone has around 10,000 of the total 395,000 privately-owned illegal firearms in the country.