The Gujarat and Madhya Pradesh police will jointly search a forested area in Burhanpur for gun manufacturers who allegedly provided firearms to assassinate top saffron leaders in retaliation to the Gujarat riots over a decade ago.
The Ahmedabad crime branch, which is investigating the case, has received “crucial information” on a network of gunrunners from whom two Burhanpur-based welders sourced ten country-made guns 13 years ago.
The two welders — identified as Burhanpur residents Abdul Razaq and Mohd Shaqil — were arrested by the Gujarat police anti-terror squad from a petrol pump on the Burhanpur-Khargone highway on August 20.
Upon being interrogated, they provided police with information on the area from which they sourced the guns — costing anywhere between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 — in 2003.
“We’ll soon launch a joint operation with the Madhya Pradesh police to track gun manufacturers who operate in the dense forest of a village in Burhanpur district,” an Ahmedabad crime branch official told Hindustan TImes on Friday.
According to sources in the MP Special Task Force, Pachauri village in Burhanpur’s Khakhnar area is home to many sikligars — members of a blacksmith Sikh community that has been making guns for generations. Several illegal weapon manufacturers were arrested from the village in the past.
Soon after Razaq and Shaqil were nabbed on August 20, the Burhanpur district police sent a team to Gujarat to procure information. The two are among 80 people accused in the case.
The duo, employed at a Surat welding unit in 2003, had allegedly sourced the guns from Burhanpur and supplied it to one Mohd Raza. While Raza was arrested by Gujarat police years ago, arrest warrants against the two welders had been pending since 2003.
The infamous Gujarat riots, which followed the Godhra train-burning incident, claimed over a thousand lives in 2002.