Smuggling of small arms continues unabated in Valley

Kathmandu, October 2

Despite the law enforcement agency’s efforts, smuggling and illegal trade of small arms continues unabated in the Kathmandu Valley.

Police arrested Bhupendra Karki, 23, of Baitadi from Alok Nagar, Baneshwor in illegal possession of a loaded country-made pistol, a khukuri and a knife yesterday night.

A special team of the Metropolitan Police Circle, Baneshwor, followed Karki acting on a tip-off that he had been carrying an unlicenced firearm and had threatened to kill Sharad Chandra Joshi’s family in Baneshwor. Officials said they somehow succeeded in averting an unpleasant incident.

On September 24, police arrested Santosh Khadka, 20, of Dhading from Dhungedhara in possession of two khukuris and six rounds of bullets.

Similarly, the law enforcement agency held four persons with a pistol and bullets from Goldhunga, on the outskirts of Kathmandu, on June 29. A pistol, apparently made in the US, a magazine and five bullets were recovered from them.

On June 21, police arrested six persons with two unlicensed firearms from different places in the capital. They were found carrying out robberies and extorting people in police uniform. Police have arrested more than 13 persons and confiscated 10 firearms from them in the Valley in the past one year alone.

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.