Unemployment forces Pratapgarh villagers to make illegal firearms

      Unemployment has forced many villagers in Uttar Pradesh's Pratapgarh district to make illegal firearms. Villagers say that they are flooded with orders during elections. "I am making firearms for the last 10-12 years. We make arms for a living and education of our children. During elections we get a good price for firearms because of demand from politicians," said Bajrang Singh (name changed on request), a firearms maker. Local mafia in the politically sensitive state often use unlicensed weapons to threaten voters and rig elections. Villagers on Pratapgarh-Allahabad find it difficult to do farming, as most of the land in this region is forest area. "We can't do farming in the forest. At times we raise livestock but we have started this work (firearms making) which is regular. You can see we can't do any other work in the forest," said Balwan Singh (name changed on request), a firearms maker.

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