Aurangabad violence: A Congress leader in Maharashtra has sought a ban on Flipkart following a revelation that arms seized in Aurangabad during the violence earlier this month were reportedly bought through the online shopping platform. Maharashtra Congress leader Radhakrishna Vikhe-Patil on Wednesday demanded that the e-commerce website be banned and said that Flipkart is setting a ‘dangerous trend’.
“It is shocking that such arms are now being openly traded online. Police have seized 28 weapons including swords, choppers, knives, kukris, guptis, etc, which were purchased from Flipkart’s online website,” IANS quoted Vikhe-Patil, Leader of Opposition in the Assembly, as saying.
As per the details provided by the police, most of these weapons were purchased on May 16 by 24 local residents. It said that the weapons reached a courier company’s office for delivery on May 21. The orders were placed days after Aurangabad witnessed clashes over rumours of water connections being disconnected, leading to communal riots on May 11 and 12 in which a boy was killed.
The police said that orders were placed under the categories of ‘toy swords’ and ‘kitchen appliances’. Maharashtra’s Anti Terrorism Squad is also a part of the probe.
Patil said that the government must probe who bought these weapons and why and also sought to know whether the weapons purchased had any connection with the recent violence. The Crime Branch of Aurangabad police had seized these weapons from Mukundwadi and Nageshwarwadi in the city and nabbed seven persons, including the manager of a courier company.
Further investigation revealed that arms were allegedly booked through Flipkart and were delivered from Punjab’s Amritsar, through a courier company, Estacort Services Pvt. Ltd.
Aurangabad Police Commissioner Milind Bharambe said he would recommend a ban on such online purchase of arms to the Home Ministry. Police are also probing how many more such weapons were ordered since Aurangabad is a sensitive city.
Meanwhile, ADGP (Law and Order), Bipin Bihari told The Indian Express that they are exploring legal ways to book Flipkart for providing and transporting, knowingly or unknowingly, such dangerous material. “Today, they managed to buy choppers and knives, tomorrow it could be drugs or explosives or any other hazardous material. A line has to be drawn somewhere and responsibility needs to be fixed so that e-commerce portals take precautions,” he said.
Flipkart refused to comment when FinancialExpress.com contacted them for a response.
According to Bharambe’s report to the government, riots began in Gandhinagar area, where clashes broke out between two communities after the local administration cut off water connection to an unauthorised shrine. The tension spread to neighbouring marketplaces of Motikaranja, Shahganj, Jinsi, Rajabazar, Saraf Bazar and Nawabpur. It added that the police was quick to react and respond but was outnumbered by the rioters. Over 100 shops and several vehicles were set ablaze following the riot.