Srinagar: The weapons seized by various security agencies from militants during the past twenty-five years have been illegally retained by some government agencies.
An army officer commenting on the issue on http://defenceforumindia.com said the quantity of arms and ammunition recovered by security forces is enough to equip two to three army divisions with small weapons.
Figures with Jammu and Kashmir’s home department say that security forces have seized 30,752 AK-series assault rifles, 11,431 pistol and revolvers, 1,027 universal machine guns, 2,262 rocket propelled grenade launchers, 391 sniper rifles and hundreds of other weapons, including light machine guns and self-loading rifles.
The ammunition recovered includes more than 45,00,000 bullets and 63,000 grenades, besides 45,000 kg explosives. The weapons seized also included 2,262 rocket projectile guns, 2,830 rocket boosters, 70,071 AK magazines, 11,055 pistol magazines, 1321 UMG magazines, 150 LMG magazines, 31 carbine magazines and 32 telescopes, used on rifles for better aim.
The data further reveals that a massive quantity of ammunition for these weapons was also recovered during the counter-insurgency operations nearly 13 ton RDX, over 6,000 IEDs and nearly 70,000 detonators.
According to experts, a conventional army division has around 10,000 men and officers. The seized weapons, therefore, would form the basic nucleus of weapons in two to three divisions and will meet their requirement of small arms, automatic weapons or ant-tank capability.
The seized weapons in total violation of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) have not been deposited in the courts. On the contrary, the weapons have been retained by the government. Most of the weapons have been allotted to police men.
Senior lawyer, Advocate GN Shaheen said the seized items including weapons have to be deposited in the court and produced for identification at the evidence stage. “If a seized weapon is not produced in the court it is a severe violation of law and the benefit goes to the accused,” he said.
Shaheen added the seized weapons have to remain the in the custody of the court till the trial concludes. “At the end of the trial, the presiding officer of the court mentions in the order that the seized items including weapons) need to be preserved till the appeal period expires. The court usually directs to destroy the seized items after the expiry of the appeal period,” he said.
However, the law authorizes the court in special cases, to entrust the seized weapons to an agency for forensic or other use but the authority to take any decision with regard to the seized property lies with the court and not with a bureaucrat.
Weapons seized in 25 years
Ak-47 rifles 30,752
Pistols 11, 431
RDX 13 tons