Uttar Pradesh accounts for about 50 per cent of the country’s firearms-related deaths, a grim revelation at a time when rioters were seen freely using guns during the recent communal clashes in Muzaffarnagar district.
The UP administration rushed to cancel gun licences in three police stations of riot-hit district, but the 1,177 licences withdrawn is a drop in an ocean in a state swarming with licenced and unlicenced weapons.
National Crime Record Bureau data reveals the state with 15 per cent of India’s population, accounts for close to 50 per cent of the country’s firearms-related deaths. Of 3,718 killings in 2012, UP’s toll stood at 1,720.
The statistics also reveal the killings increased after the Akhilesh Yadav government came to power in 2012. While the number of those killed during Mayawati’s regime hovered just below the 1,000 mark in 2010 and 2011, the figure shot up to 1,720 in 2012. The easy availability of arms is reflecting in the deteriorating law and order situation.
Compare UP’s death ratio to other states that have half of UP’s population and it is clear that the Akhilesh government has lost its grip on law and order. As against UP’s 1,720 gun-shot deaths, Maharashtra recorded 49 deaths, Andhra Pradesh 3 and West Bengal 204.
In a state where contestants across party lines promised gun licences in return for votes last year, the increasing death toll does not appear to have triggered an alarm. Recoveries of illegal weapons in UP have been nominal. The NCRB data for 2012 reveals that of the 4,619 fire arms recovered throughout the country, UP’s share stood at a mere 96.