New Delhi , Mar 17 :A member of the National Socialist Council of Nagaland — Isak-Muivah (NSCN-IM) was arrested by customs officials at the Delhi airport after he was found to be in possession of five pistol-conversion carbine units, in a move that government officials figure could affect ongoing talks between the group and the Indian government for a peace accord.
The converter turns any pistol into an assault rifle. It isn’t a weapon itself.
The 45-year-old, whose name was not shared , was arrested after he landed in New Delhi from Bangkok on Thursday night, senior customs officials confirmed on condition of anonymity.
“We had information that he might be carrying contraband. He was stopped and nothing suspicious was found in the hand baggage. His registered baggage was scanned and the converters along with several other accessories which help improve the accuracy of fire arms were recovered,” said a customs officer.
Senior customs officials added that while no weapons were recovered from the accused, the equipment seized from him is used to convert a small gun into range firing weapon and allows multiple firing.
The passenger had purchased the converters in Bangkok and since it is not illegal to carry these in registered or check-in luggage, he had no problems at the embarkation point.
The customs official mentioned above added that the person had frequently travelled between Bangkok and India, but usually landed in Kolkata. It isn’t clear whether this was his first attempt to bring in converters.
Government officials familiar with the matter said on condition of anonymity that the arrest might complicate the equation Central government has with the insurgent group,
The BJP government in 2015 signed a framework agreement for the Naga peace deal with the NSCN-IM. Recently, the government found itself at loggerheads with NSCN-IM after the insurgent group endorsed a call given by civil society of Nagaland to boycott state elections. The arrest has therefore put the Intelligence Bureau, the National Investigation agency and the customs department in a tight spot.
“The state IB unit was informed about the incident and officials are currently communicating with the customs department to gather further information,” a senior Home Ministry official said.
An NIA official confirmed that the arrested person belongs to NSCN-IM but refused to give out his name or current designation in the group.
In a press statement Amandeep Singh, additional commissioner of customs said the accused has been booked under the Arms and Customs act.
“Four RONI G1 pistol-carbine conversion units, one RONI B (Beretta M9/92FS) pistol-carbine conversion unit, two L-3 EoTech holographic weapon sight along with some other equipments were recovered. The items have been seized under customs and arms act and the passenger has been arrested,” the statement read.
Minister of State for Home Affairs, Kiren Rijiju was not immediately reachable for comment.
Courtesy : Hindustan Times