Photographs of gun-wielding women at a religious celebration in Gujarat have caused a flutter, with police launching an investigation into the matter.
Images showing the women from a former Kutiyana MLA’s family decked in gold and ammunition and wielding shotguns were widely shared, triggering speculation over whether the weapons were fired.
Bhura Munja, an ex-MLA and brother-in-law of ‘Godmother’ Santokben Jadeja, clarified that none of the weapons were discharged.
“These photographs were taken on April 12 when we organised Pothi Yatra on Bhagwat Saptah occasion. Weapons are symbol of Rajput power, so we displayed the weapons in a procession,” he said in his statement to the Porbandar police who reportedly made inquiries into the incident.
Police are investigating the matter under the Arms Act 1959.
While the images may be uncommon, the instance is not. People displaying and/or firing arms at functions are a mark of a family’s importance and influence, and is increasingly becoming a regular feature in Gujarat.
Recently, Indian cricketer Ravindra Jadeja found himself in the middle of a controversy when a video showing a man firing into the air at his wedding was widely shared.
A police inquiry revealed that it was Jadeja’s uncle Kripalsinh who fired from his licensed gun.
Earlier this year, shots were fired to celebrate the wedding of a police officer’s family member in Kutch.
Thus far, there have not been any injuries during these instances of celebratory gun firing; however they reflect a prominent ‘gun culture’ at social functions in the state despite fatalities being reported in other parts of the country.
Such appears to be the prevalence that the Gujarat in-charge director general of police, PP Pandey, commented on these cases being “minor” issues.
“I am from Uttar Pradesh. Hundred to two hundred rounds are fired in every marriage there,” Pandey said in response to the firing at Jadeja’s wedding.