Notorious for their skills in making illegal arms, Sikligars—a community skilled for generations in making weapons— are pushing illegally made sophisticated weapons into neighbouring Uttar Pradesh using the busy rail corridor between Khandwa and Allahabad, said police officials of Uttar Pradesh Wednesday.
The criminals of Allahabad and neighboring districts who were earlier depended on katta – single shot hand gun – have now graduated to using semi-automatic pistols illegally made by Sikligars in Madhya Pradesh.
According to Uttar Pradesh police, criminals from Allahabad area visit Khandwa and Burhanpur every week to pick up three to four consignments of arms made by Sikligars.
The criminals may carry anywhere between five to seven pistols in one consignment.
It is the railway network, which criminals form neighbouring state are mainly using to transport these weapons, said police.
About 27 trains ply everyday between Khandwa to Allahabad on the south and central railway corridors. Sources said the criminals switch trains three or four times before reaching Allahabad.
"Earlier pistols were coming from Munger and other parts of Bihar. But high costs had made the weapons out of reach of petty criminals," said officer -in-charge Allahabad crime branch Manoj Raghuvanshi.
"In last one year due to the smuggling from Khandwa there has been a massive increase in the use of pistols in Allahabad and adjoining areas."
Alarmed by the gunrunning, Allahabad police are now planning to write to their Madhya Pradesh counterparts seeking help to contain the flow of illegal arms from Khandwa and Burhanpur to different parts of Uttar Pradesh, especially Allahabad.
"The inflow of pistols has drastically increased over the last one year," said officer-in-charge special task force Allahabad Ajay Singh.
"We will write to the MP government and concerned officers in this regard." The Allahabad crime branch is keeping tabs on several suspected gunrunners, said the crime branch official.
Sources said the Sikligars sells these semi-automatic pistols between Rs 6,000 and Rs 8,000 which are then sold in Allahabad between Rs 15,000 and 25,000.
With gunrunners in Khandwa keeping in sync with changing times and these pistols being easily available, even petty criminal prefer them instead cumbersome kattas, said sources from local intelligence unit (LIU).
"The katta is almost extinct now," said an LIU official.
The Sikilgar community is adept at making country made pistols, one -fire weapons (12-bore katta and 315 bore katta) swords and daggers.