ILAM, Feb 7: Locals of Ilam district have voluntarily submitted illegal firearms and ammunition in their possession to the authorities following an awareness program launched by the police.
Ilam District Police Office (DPO) organised a press meet on Wednesday to make public 174 illegal firearms and ammunition collected from the locals.
Following many incidents of crime in the district involving the use of illegal firearms, the DPO had issued a notice calling on the public to submit any illegal arms in their possession.
The locals, however, turned a deaf ear to the notice, said DPO chief DSP Bhim Bahadur Dahal, adding, “The police then reached out to the doorsteps of the locals and requested them to submit any illegal weapons they possessed.”
According to Dahal, the locals started to hand over their illegal weapons after the police said they would take legal action if the arms were not submitted voluntarily.
The DPO informed that people in 24 VDCs submitted their weapons willingly.
Police gathered 25 weapons from Danabari VDC, 24 from Chisapani VDC and 20 from Mahamai VDC. Likewise, 15 weapons were assembled from Panchakanya VDC and 9 from Shantipur and Lumde VDCs, informed DSP Dahal.
Locals in Erautar VDC handed over 10 illegal weapons while 7 each were submitted from Kanyam, Shree Antu and Ektappa VDCs. Illegal arms were also gathered from VDCs such as Gajurmukhi and Fikkal.
The DPO has extended the submission deadline by 15 days as many locals are yet to surrender illegal weapons that have been in their possession since long back, said DSP Dahal. He also said the collected weapons would be disposed of properly.
Police report that seven people have lost their lives in the district because of illegal arms and dozens have been injured in accidents taking place at different times.
Various illegal activities had taken place in the district with the use of illegal weapons. Police have filed cases against 14 people for carrying illegal weapons and 37 others have also been booked, informed DSP Dahal.
Dahal said that the authorities have launched a drive to render the district free of illegal weapons.
As per existing law, anyone found in possession of illegal arms and ammunition is liable to be sent to jail for up to seven years and fined Rs. 20,000 to 140,000.