Thursday, July 23, 2009

States told to act against illegal arms manufacture

Sujay Mehdudia

Such weapons fall into the hands of naxalites, says Chidambaram

P. Chidambaram

NEW DELHI: The Centre has asked the States to crack down on manufacture of illegal arms and ammunition, some of which are falling into the hands of militants and naxalites, Union Home Minister P. Chidambaram told the Rajya Sabha on Wednesday.

Replying to questions, he said, “We have asked State governments to take strict action against illegal arms and ammunition. In our assessment, there are factories where arms and ammunition are manufactured illegally. However, States have not communicated the action they have taken.”

Mr. Chidambaram said the Centre had shared some information with the States. The illegal arms and ammunition were being sold to naxalites and militants. “Militants have access to illegal arms, and loot armouries. It is a grave problem, and we will address it seriously.”

When Bhagat Singh Koshyari of the BJP sought to know what action the Centre was taking against the manufacture of illegal arms and ammunition, Mr. Chidambaram said crime is a State subject. But if all political parties agreed, the Centre would take direct action.

He said risk-based allowance was sanctioned for paramilitary personnel deployed in the naxal-hit areas on a par with the Army. The government was trying to resolve the differences over the quantum. “The matter has been referred to the Department of Expenditure of the Finance Ministry, and I am sure we will get a positive response.” The special allowances for the paramilitary personnel were worked out on the basis of the hardship and risk involved, besides the stress factor.

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