Uttar Pradesh: After bloody trail, cops clamp down on celebratory firing
The state police have decided to take stern action against people engaging in celebratory firing by cancelling their firearms licence and sending them to jail, a senior officer said.
Action will be also taken against station house officers (SHOs) concerned and policemen posted at the outposts who fail to implement the court order on celebratory firing, he added.
Addressing media persons here on Tuesday, DIG (law and order) Praveen Kumar said the state police had taken a serious note of the death of a groom in celebratory firing in Lakhimpur Kheri on Sunday.
“Incidents of celebratory firing during marriages and death of bystanders has also been reported from other districts,” he said.
Kumar said director general of police (DGP) OP Singh had directed the police chiefs of all the districts to take strict action against those indulging in celebratory firing.
“Action will be taken against errant policemen who fail to implement the orders of the court and the state government”, he said.
“In several cases, it has been found that people have not lodged FIRs. Under the new order, the SHOs have been directed to take suo motu cognizance of celebratory firing and lodge FIRs”, the DIG added.
He said the superintendents of police (SPs) of all the districts had been asked to check the cartridges purchased by licensed firearms owners.
“Firearm owners will have to maintain a register mentioning use of cartridges. They will have to produce empty cartridges before the police and if its use in celebratory firing is detected, FIR will be lodged against the violators, their licence will be cancelled and they will be sent to jail,” Kumar said.
The SPs had been directed to create awareness among the people and organise monthly review meetings to draw strategy to check celebratory firing, he said and added that an FIR under Section 304 of the Indian Penal Code (IPC) would be lodged against the accused if any death was reported in celebratory firing.
Earlier, the DGP had directed the SHOs to display orders regarding restrictions of firing at all guest houses, hotels, marriage spots and public places informing people regarding ban of celebratory firing.
“According to the Arms Act, 1959, the licence or any retainer acting under this licence shall not carry any arms covered thereby otherwise than in good faith for the purpose of sport, protection or display,” a senior police officer said.
“Unless authorised by the district magistrate, he shall not take arms to fair, religious procession or other public assemblage,” he added.
In May 2012, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court had expressed concerned over the display and misuse of arms in public places and during celebrations. The court restrained the arms licence holders from using their weapons for celebratory firing.
A division bench comprising justices Abdul Mateen and Sudhir Kumar Saxena had passed the order in a criminal matter and expressed concern over the misuse of arms in public and private functions like marriage, birthday and victory procession.
“We direct that henceforth the arm licence holders of state are restrained from using arms in celebratory firing on the occasion of marriage, birthday, victory procession or similar gathering. Should anyone violates this order, he will be personally accountable and will be dealt with in accordance with law by this court,” the bench had said.
Later, in an order passed on February 23, 2016, when several people died in celebratory firing in various districts, the Lucknow bench of the Allahabad high court in an order said: “It appears that authorities have been conveniently ignoring the instruction issued by this court. Owners of marriage homes, hotels, guest houses, village pradhan and police officers need to be reminded again regarding the order passed by this court. In every case of death or injury by fire arm, police has to intervene whether written complaint is filed or not. Escalation of trend has to be arrested,” the court had observed.
Though the state government has ordered for cancellation of licence of those violating rules yet influential people manage to evade action. In majority of cases it was found that firing was done with illegal firearms.
“There is a need to launch a drive against illegal arms and ammunition,” said a police officer.
Former police officer and social activist SR Darapuri said the feudal mindset of the people where show of firearms was considered a symbol of strength was responsible for spurt in cases of celebratory firing.
“People residing in rural areas are ignorant of the orders passed by the government or courts. There is a need to educate them and action should be taken against offenders. Police should act against the organiser and the persons allowing celebratory firing,” he said.
WEDDINGS & FUNERALS
April 29, 2018: Celebratory firing during a wedding claimed the life of bride’s cousin in Dando village of Bara in Trans-Yamuna area of Allahabad. The accused was arrested with the firearm. Marriage of Suresh Tiwari’s daughter Vidya was to take place with Vinay Shukla. After the ‘barat’ arrived from Karchhana, one Ajay Pandey who accompanied the marriage party opened fire with his licensed pistol during ‘jaimal’. The bullet hit bride’s cousin Sarvesh and pierced through his chest. Sarvesh was rushed to SRN Hospital where the doctors declared him brought dead. Ajay was arrested with the firearm and an FIR was lodged against him.
April 27, 2018: A five-year-old boy Karan was killed and two others injured in a firing incident during an engagement ceremony in Rangpura village of Soraon area. The man who allegedly opened fire was identified as Niaz, the driver of the bride’s maternal uncle. Preliminary investigation revealed that some persons had a scuffle during the engagement ceremony after which Niaz opened fire. Navjeet Saroj, a constable posted in Varanasi, and his family went to Rangpura village for his engagement with Shivani, daughter of Tara Devi. The guests were busy when firing took place injuring Navejeet’s brother Sandeep, nephew Karan, 5, and one Rahul. Later, Karan succumbed to injuries.
December 11, 2016: An 11-year-old boy Shreyansh was killed in celebratory firing during the marriage function of his uncle Om Singh in Girdharjanj area of Gorakhpur. The bullet fired by a friend of the groom hit the boy in the head. The accused, who was heavily drunk, was caught by guests and handed over to the police. It was found during investigation that the man had fired the shot from an unlicensed rifle. Shreyansh’s father Sardesh Singh is a clerk in treasury department.
June 29, 2017: A man, Brijlal (65), was killed while two other guests suffered bullet injuries during celebratory firing by the groom’s friend at a marriage function in Vishnupur in Gorakhpur. Brijlal was rushed to the medical college where he was pronounced dead. Sumit Rai, 30, and Ajay Yadav, 28, sustained injuries. The accused, who was an SSB jawan posted at Indo-Nepal border, fled the spot. He was later arrested. As the fallout of the incident, the marriage could not be solemnised.
April 21, 2017: The groom’s father and the bride’s uncle were injured in celebratory firing by a guest during the ‘tilak’ ceremony of one Ajay Yadav in Baghna under Khajni police station of Gorakhpur. Two persons, Shyam Sundar (50) and Geeta (30) were also injured and discharged after short treatment. The accused was an army jawan who used his licensed rifle to fire shots. He fled the spot but was later arrested by the police.
April 28, 2018: A constable, Mahendra Singh, allegedly shot dead a 12-year-old boy Manav in a village in Firozabad after a dispute during a wedding and escaped with the body. He was apparently angry at the boy, who is his nephew, when the latter’s feet brushed the former while dancing to the DJ music at the wedding in Aranv village.
October 31, 2017: Four people, including the bride’s uncle, were injured in celebratory firing during a wedding function at Dharampur village under Fariha police station of Firozabad.
May 9, 2017: Two uncles of a bride were injured after being struck by a shot fired from a gun owned by the bride’s grandfather during a marriage function in Sureer town of Mathura.
May 1, 2017: A 22-year-old man died after being hit by a stray bullet during an engagement function in Nagla Singi village in Firozabad.
April 30, 2017: An 8-year-old boy was killed in celebratory firing during a marriage function in Sujawalpur village in Kasganj. The victim, Rehan, was struck by a bullet in the head while watching celebrations in a nearby house where a ‘barat’ was leaving for Delhi for the marriage of a villager Muzammil.
March 21, 2016: A 12-year-old boy was killed in celebratory firing at a birthday party in Salenagar village under Kheragarh police of Agra. The boy was struck in the stomach and died while being taken to Agra for treatment.
March 7, 2016: A policeman was killed in celebratory firing during pre-marriage function of his daughter at Bhogaon in Mainpuri district. He died on his way to hospital.
February 12, 2018: An army jawan Kuldip Kumar Dixit, 29, was killed in celebratory firing during a marriage ceremony at Ma Pithambara marriage lawns in Shyam Nagar area of Kanpur. The police arrested Dixit’s friend Sanjay Maurya who had fired the shot. Dixit, who was posted in Ambala, had come from his native place Rae Bareli to attend the marriage ceremony of his friend Shiv Prakar Singh. Kumar was rushed to Kanshiram Memorial Trauma Centre where he was pronounced dead.
April 28, 2018: A 14-year-old boy, Akshat, died in celebratory firing in Baraut town of Baghpat district. He had gone to assist his grandfather who provides horse chariot for marriages. Akshat was taking care of the horses during the marriage procession of one Monu Rathi. While the guests were dancing, groom’s cousin Gautam allegedly started firing from his gun. The bullet hit the boy who died on the spot. Police arrested accused Gautam and booked him under Section 304 of the IPC (culpable homicide not amounting to murder) and sent him in jail.
February 23, 2017: Celebratory firing during a marriage function in Noorpur area of Bijnor district claimed the life of a 41-year-old man Chandrapal in Linderpur village. The function was almost over and the guests were leaving when the groom’s uncle Sanjeev Nanak allegedly opened fire in the air. A bullet pierced the neck of Chandrapal who had come from Amroha to attend the marriage. He died on the spot. The accused was booked on the complaint of Chandrapal’s uncle Ram Singh Saini and sent to the jail.
January 28, 2017: A non-resident Indian (NRI) Mona Singh sustained injuries after being hit by a bullet fired during celebrations at a wedding ceremony in Gangoh town of Saharanpur district. He was admitted to a private hospital. A case was registered in this connection.
February 7, 2016: A 10-year-old boy Shami lost his life during celebratory shots fired during the victory procession of a Samajwadi Party backed candidate Nafisa in panchayat election in Kairana town of Shamli district. Some of the supporters started celebratory firing in the presence of police. A stray bullet hit Shami who was passing by with her aunt in an e-rickshaw. He was taken to a hospital where doctors pronounced him dead. The boy’s uncle Iqbal lodged a case against Nafisa’s husband Gayyur, his brother Mumtaz and others. Police booked 200 unidentified people in the case and arrested three men. A non-bailable warrant was issued against the accused.