The flourishing arms bazar

From handguns to rocket launchers. Russian Kalashnikov to Chinese AK-47s…almost all these can be bought and sold in these areas.

The Northeast based insurgent groups are now showing preference to buy arms from the border areas in Karimganj district as compared to the increasingly crowded and competitive tri-junction market. The gunrunners who are active in the tri-junction are also shifting their focus on the Karimganj side of the Indo-Bangla border following strict vigilance over the area by the security forces of the respective countries, sources said.

The arms dealing business has taken large proportions in Biyani Bazar and Jakiganj subdivisions in Sylhet district, Borlekha subdivision in Moulavi Bazar district and Doara Bazar subdivision in Sunamganj district in Bangladesh, sources added. All these subdivisions are along the Karimganj side of the Indo-Bangla border.

Huge quantity of arms are regularly being brought in these places from Cox Bazar in Bangladesh, which is one of the biggest arms markets in South Asia, and a major chunk of the arms are sold to the insurgent grops of India’s Northeast.

A resident of a border township in Karimganj district, who is also an agent of a Jakiganj based arms dealer, while speaking to this correspondent on the condition of anonymity, pointed out: Considering the security reasons along the Karimganj-Bangla border, all the arms dealers operating along the border are mobile. So we have no specific localities of operation. When the BSF tightens its vigil, the arms dealers take refuge in the border villages in Bangladesh.”

According to a recent issue of a Sylhet based Bengali daily, Dainik Jalalabad, the Bangladesh police allege that all the arms are being entered into Bangladesh through India. However, the police in a series of operations throughout Sylhet last week, nabbed several arms dealers.

Intelligence sources here said that the arms dealers operating along the Indo-Bangla border in Karimganj have been receiving political patronage from the Jamat and the BNP, Bangladesh’s two main political parties.

However, the BSF recently shot dead a Bangladeshi smuggler at Faradpur village along the Indo-Border in Karimganj district. A large amount of Indian and Bangladeshi currencies were recovered from the deceased, a BSF spokesperson said.

- SURAJIT TALUKDAR,