The last aspect of Chambal’s gun culture inherited through nearly two centuries is set to go. If MP police have their way, there will be no gunshots to celebrate occasions such as weddings in an area where the possession of firearms determines a person’s social status.
Though there is a ban on firing in public places in the region, the rule is not followed because the influence of tradition is strong.
An old saying in Chambal goes that from a person’s birth till death, gunshots mark every important incident in his life. Even when a person dies and cremation is done after sunset, gunshots are fired to awaken the spirit of death.
“Several incidents of people getting injured and even losing their lives during ceremonial firing have occurred,” said inspector general Sanjay Jha, while talking to Hindustan Times.
The police have issued orders saying any use of firearms during public ceremonies will be dealt with sternly. The offender may also be sent out of the district.
“We are also considering taking action under the National Security Act (NSA) in such cases,” Jha added.
In an incident this month, the bridegroom’s brother was killed when a bullet hit him during celebratory firing in Bhind, 500 km north of Bhopal. Last month, a teenager by the name Sundar Singh was killed during a wedding ceremony.
But in none of the cases did the victims’ families name any person in the FIR. Not everyone is happy with the blanket ban, though.
(With inputs from Mahesh Shivhare in Morena and SK Jain in Bhind)