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.