GUWAHATI, March 9 � Police in various parts of the State, particularly in vulnerable areas, will go the extra mile to search for and secure firearms which are in illegal possession. The efforts have been bolstered by the belief that such weapons could find use during the run up to the Assembly elections scheduled for April 4 and 11.
Along with other types of firearms, police will double the look out for small arms which are relatively easy to store and carry. Though limited in range, they are equally potent to cause harm, and are generally available at lower prices compared to more powerful weapons.
Well placed sources in the police reveal that efforts are already underway to take stock of licensed arms, but getting information on illegal fire arms and ammunition is a much more difficult task.
�Actually there has been no proper estimation of the number and types of unlicensed firearms which could exist in Assam, so it not possible to state the magnitude of the problem,� a senior police official said, on condition of anonymity.
At present, illegal weapons are suspected to be in circulation across several districts of the State, but it is believed they are more concentrated in those where members of militant groups have been active. Another worry for the police in recent times is in those districts where surrendered militants are present inside and outside designated camps.
The police forces stationed close to some state and district boundaries have raised the level of checks so that fire arms cannot be transported by subversive elements and criminals.
One of the reasons that police and district administrations are trying to locate and recover illegally owned firearms is that even though the weapons might not be used to kill or maim, there is a possibility of those being used as tools to threaten people before the elections.
Sources inform that the police are also keeping watch on some criminal elements which could maintain links with militant outfits. It has been suspected that they might act as middlemen in buying, selling, or shipment of firearms during the sensitive period leading to the polls.