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The illegal entry of guns into India

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By Arka Mondal

“The ever more sophisticated weapons piling up in the arsenals of the wealthiest and the mightiest can kill the illiterate, the ill, the poor and the hungry, but they cannot kill ignorance, illness, poverty or hunger.”

― Fidel Castro

South East Asia is possibly one of the most volatile global hot-spots after Middle East and Africa. Fundamental extremism in the Afghanistan-Pakistan area is making the region more dangerous by the day. One of the major reasons for this is the large scale proliferation and easy availability of small arms and light weapons.

India has witnessed over 150 militant uprisings since its independence in 1947, of which 65 are believed to be still active in one form or the other. Pakistan is still the primary source of India bound small arms. Islamabad regularly uses ISI funded terrorist organizations to destabilize India by smuggling small and light weapons via sea and land routes. Funding for these weapons proliferation can be accredited to money laundering and safe havens abroad organized through ‘hawala’ or ‘hundi’ channels. The transfer of small arms takes place mostly through clandestine routes and the grey market.

The Chinese role in the clandestine industry also cannot be ignored. China made guns and ammunition gained massive popularity among the insurrectionary groups in India’s north eastern region. Competitively low priced, the Chinese weapons are smuggled in through disputed territories of Arunachal Pradesh. The Chinese weapons pipeline also permeated into Myanmar’s underground markets along the Thai border. In no time China became the prime official supplier to the rebels in Sri Lanka, Myanmar, Bangladesh and Pakistan. The Chinese continue to supply small arms to Indian insurgent groups in Manipur, Mizoram, Nagaland and Tripura through Bangladesh, Myanmar and possibly Nepal, since the Indo-Nepal border is known to be porous.

However, the complexity of small arms proliferation is not merely a security issue, it is also a question of human rights and of development.

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Sri Lanka to convert garbage dumps into urban parks

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Sri Lanka to convert garbage dumps into urban parks
This is a Sri Lankan flag. Sri Lanka to convert garbage dumps into urban parks. wikimedia commons

Colombo, Dec 26, 2017: Sri Lanka will convert two large garbage dumps here into urban parks next year as part of a city beautification programme, a minister announced on Tuesday.

Addressing the Colombo City Beautification Awards Ceremony in Colombo, Megapolis and Western Development Minister Champika Ranawaka said that garbage could no longer be dumped at the Meethotamulla or Bloemendhal garbage mountains and plans were afoot to construct a large scale national landfill site in Aruwakkaluwa in Puttalam, to address the government’s garbage disposal issue, reports Xinhua news agency.

Ranawaka said that all steps would also be taken to ensure that no harm is caused to the environment when constructing the Aruwakkaluwa sanitary landfill.

With no proper garbage disposal in place, garbage from the capital was dumped at the Meethotamulla Garbage mountain for years with some environmentalists claiming that nearly 800 tons of solid waste was added daily. (IANS)

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