It is the second time in a month and third within close occurrences that Maharashtra has made headlines for recovering deadly arms in significant numbers. The Maharashtra police, on Wednesday, April 27, seized as many as 89 swords and one dagger from a vehicle near Songer village of Dhule district, located in the northern part of the state. The Police have also arrested four individuals, namely Mohammed Sharif, Mohammad Shafiq (35), Sheikh Ilyas Sheikh Latif (32), Syed Nai Syed Rahim (29), and Kapil Dabhade (age 35) as accused in the case of this recovery of weapons worth Rs 7,13,600. The cache of arms had been transported from Rajasthan’s Chittorgarh in a Scorpio and was headed to Maharashtra’s Jalna district. It is noteworthy that the Congress is in power in Rajasthan, and it is also the chief support of the Maha Vikas Aghadi helmed by Uddhav Thakre in Maharashtra.
Before this incident, the Maharashtra police had recovered a stockpile of sharp swords from a godown in the Dighi area. The godown belonged to a private courier company; a worker grew suspicious about the contingent while scanning it through electronic machines and informed the Police. The Police confiscated 92 swords, nine scabbards, and two daggers worth Rs 3.7 lakhs. This contingent had been sent from Punjab to Maharashtra, and further investigations are underway to reveal the reason behind sending such weapons via couriers.
This incident occurred remarkably closely after the Aurangabad Police caught hold of 37 swords and a dagger from the office of yet another courier company on March 30. Incidentally, that box packed with weapons was also sent from Punjab by a resident of Amritsar.
In the current case, the SP of Dhule district, Shri Praveen Kumar Patil, has stated, “The Police have recovered around 89 swords and one dagger and have also arrested four accused with these weapons. Dhule police are now investigating where all these weapons were being taken from their purpose.” They have also seized the vehicle where the weapons were being smuggled into the state. The accused are booked under sections of the Indian Penal Code and the Arms Act. However, the Police are still investigating to whom the consignment was being shipped and the purpose. All the detainees are from the Jalna district.
We must highlight that the timing of transporting such heavy contingents of weapons collides with the ongoing controversy over the Hanuman Chalisa and azaan and the use of loudspeakers in Maharashtra. Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) chief Raj Thackeray has also announced that he will soon hold a public meeting in Aurangabad, which is situated at a mere distance of 42 kilometres from Jalna city, where these weapons were being sent. The recovery of such unaccounted weapons has amplified the risks of an untoward incident waiting to befall the state. The country had recently witnessed violence during Hindu processions by Islamist crowds armed with stones, crude bombs, and swords. Transportation of such a massive number of swords from states like Rajasthan and Punjab, ruled by parties known to have an anti-Hindu stance in the light of concurrent violence against the Hindus, doesn’t augur well either.