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HindustanTimes Sat,25 Oct 2014

UP govt begins crackdown on guns, cancels 1,744 licences

HT Correspondent, Hindustan Times  Lucknow, September 09, 2013
First Published: 21:44 IST(9/9/2013) | Last Updated: 01:04 IST(10/9/2013)

The Muzaffarnagar violence has drawn attention to a problem that had been given short shrift so far: the proliferation of guns in the state. And the local administration is now in the process of cancelling gun licences.

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Of the 15,569 licenses issued in the district, 1,744 have been cancelled in the areas under three police stations -- Phugana, Shahpur and Bhoran Kalan. On Monday, the police also recovered one pistol, two revolvers, 20 swords and daggers during the door-to-door raids.

Western Uttar Pradesh —the “Wild West” — has always been a trigger-happy zone. Guns have not only been pulled to settle arguments, they have been a time-honoured method of making merry during weddings.

But no government – BSP or the SP – had cracked down on the possession of guns, legal or illegal.

The tacit support has another reason. “Muzaffarnagar was once dubbed the crime capital of Uttar Pradesh and it was a matter of pride to have a licensed weapon. But over the last few years, the status of a political leader was assessed by the number of arms licenses he provided to his supporters,” said a police officer.

“So a sudden spurt in issuance of arms licenses was reported during the regime of the BSP and the SP.”

“Arms licenses are provided for self-defence and safety of residents, but perhaps the people in these areas used their weapons during the communal clashes,” added additional director general of police Arun Kumar.


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