October 2017 News

J&K Second State In India To Issue Maximum Gun Licenses

8 October 2017
The Daily Excelsior

Jammu: Within days of Rajasthan Anti Terrorism Squad (ATS) and Central Bureau of Investigations (CBI) registering two separate First Information Reports (FIRs) into issuance of fake arms licenses from Jammu and Kashmir, the latest figures showed that J&K has become second State in the country after most populated Uttar Pradesh, where the District Magistrates (Deputy Commissioners) have issued more than three lakh gun licenses. Rajasthan ATS had arrested a gun dealer from Channi Himmat while CBI has booked former Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri Faquir Chand Bhagat and another gun dealer of Jammu apart from a BSF Assistant Commandant in fake arms license rackets. Official sources told the Excelsior that militancy-hit Jammu and Kashmir has become the second State on the top of the list only after the country's most populous State Uttar Pradesh where respective district administrations have issued more than 3 lakh gun licenses. A number of these licenses could be fake, sources said. 'The figures of more than 3 lakh gun licenses in Jammu and Kashmir is quite stunning as State is infested by militants for the past 28 years. More, J&K ranks 20th in terms of population in the country,' sources pointed out. The figures suggested that with a population of 1.25 crore, now for every 33 persons, there is a gun license in Jammu and Kashmir. 'Most of the fake licenses that surfaced during fake gun license probe at Udaipur in Rajasthan by the ATS had come from the States like Jammu and Kashmir and Nagaland,' a police official said, adding that there was alleged involvement of elements in states like Punjab, Madhya Pradesh as well besides Rajasthan. The ATS Rajasthan had also arrested a gun dealer from Channi Himmat, who was involved in issuing fake gun licenses from six districts of Jammu and Kashmir. The ATS was ascertaining whether the District Magistrates of Jammu and Kashmir had issued the gun licenses or their stamps and signatures had been forged to fabricate the licenses. Few days back CBI had also registered a case against former Deputy Commissioner, Rajouri, a gun dealer and a BSF Assistant Commandant, who had issued fake gun licenses to BSF jawans at Gandhi Nagar, Gujarat. Sources pointed out that fake gun licenses from Nagaland and Jammu and Kashmir are being abundantly used to 'purchase' arms from gun houses in many parts of Rajasthan, including Udaipur, Sikar and Jaipur. Around 40 licenses from Dimapur in Nagaland - suspected to be fake- were used to purchase guns from gun houses in Jaipur alone. 'The findings are matter of concern as this indicates about an inter-state illegal arms license syndicate. UNI adds from UDAIPUR: The records seized from the gun houses can now provide leads on the customers who have purchased these weapons,' a senior Udaipur police official said. Raids were conducted last week in gun houses in Jaipur and Sikar by the Special Task Force (STF) from Udaipur and it was found that in many cases 'license holders' have purchased multiple guns and cartridges. A number of residents from Udaipur were said to have been involved in the gun-license and arms purchase racket. This had led police to set up a Special Task Force (STF) to deal with the menace in this township, where otherwise tourism and hospitality industry are chief sources of income. 'The reports are being analyzed.It is now suspected that many arms and ammunition have reached anti-social elements in Rajasthan and also some in other neighbouring States. As a result, a detailed report is being sent to police headquarters in Jaipur for further follow up,' the source said. 'What is of more concern is that a number of suspects involved in the racket in Udaipur and adjoining areas are from middle class and upper class sections. Most of them are also white collared job holders like Chartered Accountants,' a civil official in the District Collectorate said. Illegal gun license menace in Rajasthan is nothing new, he added. In fact, in September this year, the Rajasthan Anti-Terror Squad in Jaipur had claimed to have 'busted' an inter-state illegal arms license syndicate following the arrest of kingpin of the racket from Ajmer. Two other members of the syndicate were also picked up. Police sources said that the syndicate was operational in at least four States. In last month's actions, Rajasthan police have also seized around 150 illegal arms licenses from the accused. One prime accused Zuber Khan was alleged to have been involved in a 'well drawn out syndicate' where backdated gun licenses used to be supplied to individuals for payment of Rs 3-4 lakh. The Anti Terrorist Squad (ATS) sleuths of Rajasthan Police have probed the racket in Dewas in Madhya Pradesh too and it was found that one local 'Gun Company' had supplied guns and cartridges to the kingpin Zuber Khan. One Ajmer-based businessman and a director in a liquor company was also arrested. The Rajasthan police had also seized nearly 100 forged arms licenses and 100 more recovered by them were put under scanner for further probe. About 55 licenses have been seized from Huber's possession and 50 others from an operator who generally were based in Punjab. Police sources in Udaipur said fake gun license issue came into focus around 2014 when huge cache of arms and 'fake gun licenses' was discovered. 'It also had come to light that the menace has spread to many other places like Alwar, Bikaner and Nagor,' the source said. Police said firearms procured and purchased from such sources were being abundantly supplied to organized gangs and history-sheeters. 'Detailed probe is required as the fake gun licenses could also land in the hands of terrorists', sources said. Fake gun license menace have in the past proved a major source of trouble in northeastern States of Assam, Nagaland and Manipur. According to Police departments in Assam and Nagaland, the arms and ammunition procured by using these fake licenses had become a threat to public safety and a major concern for security forces in the region. Fraudulent arms licenses have few years back procured from Kangpokpi in Manipur and Dimapur in Nagaland and at one point, the Manipur Government took cognizance of complaints from Assam police and had cancelled several gun licenses too. The refrain of police officials in north east has been: If anybody commits a crime with a firearm procured through fake licenses, police could not easily track such individuals'. In number of cases, arms licenses with 'all-India validity but incomplete addresses' were recovered by law enforcing agencies, sources said.