SRINAGAR: In a major step to prevent the indiscriminate issuance of arms licences and misuse of arms, the Jammu and Kashmir government has revoked individual arms licences issued between January 1, 2017 to February 23, 2018 and imposed blanket ban on issuance of new arms licences in the militancy-infested State.
J&K Home Secretary R K Goyal in an order directed revocation of individual arms licenses in the State under Arms Act 2016. In the order, it was stated that many instances of unearthing of fake gun licensing rackets were reported in media and investigated through various investigating agencies particularly anti-terror squad and SOG of Rajasthan and Jaipur.
"The Ministry of Home Affairs has also reported the indiscriminate issuance of arms licences within State with references to certain districts. An inquiry was ordered by State Home department and the probe revealed indiscriminate issuance of individual arms licences in some districts from January 1, 2017 to February 23, 2018," read the order.
It noted that issues of grant of individual arms licenses in J&K have an implication on security and public peace."Henceforth, no fresh individual arms license should be issued by the district magistrates of J&K and individual arms issues from January 1, 2017 to February 23, 2018 stand revoked," read the order.
According to sources, over 40,000 gun licences were issued in the State in last six years."In last two years, 5000 gun licences were issued by the State government," they said. The order directed all district magistrates of the State to take urgent steps to revoke all such individual arms licenses issued to various persons excluding the persons belonging to the police, army and central forces during the period.
"All district magistrates must ensure strict compliance with the provisions of arms rules 2016 at the stage of renewal of arms licenses," the order states.The district magistrates were also directed to tell the people, whose licences have been revoked, to deposit arms and ammunition in the nearest police station.
If anybody fails to deposit the arms and ammunition, action warranted under law would be taken against him.The State home secretary has directed the Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu to verify all the cases of individual new arms licenses in districts that include Kishtwar, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Leh, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, and Udhampur and furnish details to home department within a month.
"Pending verification, the district magistrates of Kishtwar, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Leh, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, and Udhampur shall not issue any new individual arms licences," read the order.It also directed district magistrates of other districts to exercise due diligence and due care while granting any new individual arms licences.The home secretary said the inquiry report of Home department has been forwarded to State Vigilance Commission (SVC) for a thorough probe.