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The guns of Imphal

IFP Editorial: In recent times, there is a proliferation of licensed guns everywhere and the smell of gun powder is getting stronger as crimes involving licensed guns have increased in Manipur.

ByIFP Bureau

Updated 12 Jan 2023, 5:20 am

Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)
Representational Image (Photo: Pixabay)

It is high time to raise the issue of widespread gun culture in recent times. A human rights organisation has done the right thing by urging the Manipur government to review and strengthen the criteria of issuing licensed guns in the state, citing a rise in crimes committed using licensed guns.

The Youth's Forum for Protection of Human Rights had been repeatedly urging the government to look into the increasing number of crimes committed by licensed and unauthorised gun holders.

During the height of insurgency in the 80s and 90s, the necessity of licensed guns was felt among the rich and the powers that be.

Gun licenses were issued by the state Home Department through the deputy commissioners under strict supervision. Not everyone who applies gets the license and there is even talk of a racket handling these cases for the right amount to grease the palms of those involved in handling files and issuing clearances.

Interestingly, many of the licensed guns ended up in the hands of insurgents and, yet crimes involving licensed guns were rare then.

In recent times, there is a proliferation of licensed guns everywhere as everyone with means can obtain a gun license and procure guns.

Many of the editors and high profile journalists have gun licenses now in the name of threats from antisocial elements or non-state actors.

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One must understand that the attitude of a person having a gun license starts changing as soon he or she acquires the gun and feels it in their hands and the smell of gunpowder stimulates a hidden power in him.

A license gun holder begins looking at every situation even if unthreatening through the prism of the barrel. So, there were instances of pulling out guns in even domestic squabbles. Add to that, when the said licensed gun holder is tipsy or drunk.

Most sadly, it had become a prestige symbol in recent times. An urgent desire to use the gun and fire it in both times extreme joy or utter despair. Remember the recent incident of a man firing a gun and injuring a neighbour during the World Cup final.

So, crimes involving licensed guns have increased. Mention may be made of a candidate in Singjamei constituency killing a nephew with a licensed gun over a land dispute. Then came elections. In the run-up to the 2022 elections, the use of both licensed and unlicensed guns were rampant in some constituencies.

In Heirok, a student was shot to death by supporters of a rival candidate and injured three others. Police found several empty shells of bullet rounds fired during the night lying around in the streets of Heirok bazar.

In Andro constituency, at least six persons were injured in a clash that broke out between groups belonging to rival candidates of Andro assembly constituency. The father of a candidate also shot at. Bullets from single or double barrel guns, licensed or unlicensed, were flying around and injuring even bystanders. A candidate in Khetrigao constituency was shot at by unidentified persons.

In another incident, armed miscreants shot a BJP worker early Saturday morning at Wangjing Wangkhei situated in Wangjing-Tentha constituency.

The recent firing incident on January 5 wherein a 33-year-old Salam Deepak, son of one Salam Gaurakishore Singh of Iroisemba Mamang Leikai, Imphal West, shot three rounds of bullets at one 34-year-old Haorkcham Thajamanbi Devi with his service gun. It may have been a love-affair gone sour, but it certainly evokes the animal instinct in the person holding the gun, licensed or otherwise. --EDITORIAL

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RELATED:

Manipur government urged to review issuing of licensed guns

Scrutinise licensed gun issuance and licensed gun holders: Rights forum

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YFPHR raises concerns on increasing gun violence in Manipur

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First published:

Tags:

licensed gunviolencegun violencegun crimes

IFP Bureau

IFP Bureau

IMPHAL, Manipur

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