The thought is surreal, but in Bihar it's quite real. Hundreds of arms like pistols and guns, all seized from criminals and stored in police stations, will be melted to manufacture farming and gardening tools.
It's a novel initiative by Bihar Police.
"The 'last rites' of seized arms will be conducted by melting them - to send a message that they will not be used to kill someone. Anyway, weapons are not going to benefit anyone. Tools made from them would be used for development to help people earn their livelihood," Director General of Police Abhayanand said.
"Police will melt them and use them for a green cause," he said.
Recently arms were destroyed for the first time in Darbhanga district. Pistols were converted into hoes and hedge clippers.
The weapons were destroyed in the presence of a magistrate and the entire process was video-graphed for evidence. The arms were seized from a criminal, Mandal, arrested from his residence in Sundarpur village under the jurisdiction of Lalit Narayan Mithila University police station in 2005. He was convicted in 2006.
The move came after Chief Judicial Magistrate P.K. Dixit's Oct 17 order to destroy the weapons confiscated from Mandal under the Arms Act, 1959.
"To begin with, some arms kept in the malkhana (store) of the university police station in Darbhanga were destroyed after obtaining permission from the chief judicial magistrate's court," Inspector General of Darbhanga range R.K. Mishra said.
The move by police to destroy weapons like this is probably the first of its kind, a senior police officer said.
"The main objective behind the move is to destroy the seized arms and weapons and to recycle them by manufacturing tools, if possible, for farming and gardening," a police officer here said.
Hundreds of arms kept in the malkhana of police stations across the state will be destroyed after obtaining permission from the respective courts, police said.
Till date only seized ganja and bhang have been destroyed by police.
Arms destroyed in Darbhanga were part of the pilot project launched on the directive of Abhayanand, known for putting innovative ideas into practice to check crime and criminals, Mishra said.
"We are happy that a rare initiative to destroy arms started in Darbhanga," Mishra said.
The country-made pistol could not be destroyed by a local blacksmith despite his best efforts, Darbhanga Senior Superintendent of Police Vikas Vaibhav said.
"After that it was taken to a foundry in Begusarai district and liquefied in the presence of a magistrate," he added.
"Police have filed a request with the court to grant permission to destroy confiscated arms in 24 cases in which the court has already convicted the offenders," Mishra said.
Police strongly fear that ammunition kept in different police station stores could be misused at some point of time, he said.
Mishra said he had asked the superintendents of police of Purnea, Katihar and Supaul along with Darbhanga to prepare a list of weapons, the court procedures for which are over, and they are being kept in stores at police stations.