Court calls for report from Home Secretary and DGP on steps taken to curtail the menace Observing that “gun culture is slowly and steadily raising its ugly head” in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court on Monday called for a report from the State government and the Director General of Police on steps taken to curtail the menace.

CHENNAI
Gun culture is slowly raising its ugly head in T.N., says HC
Legal Correspondent
CHENNAI 04 AUGUST 2020 00:18 IST
UPDATED: 04 AUGUST 2020 00:18 IST

Court calls for report from Home Secretary and DGP on steps taken to curtail the menace
Observing that “gun culture is slowly and steadily raising its ugly head” in Tamil Nadu, the Madras High Court on Monday called for a report from the State government and the Director General of Police on steps taken to curtail the menace.

Justices N. Kirubakaran and V.M. Velumani issued the direction on a habeas corpus petition challenging the preventive detention of a 20-year-old Bihar youth Navalsah on charges of indulging in robbery using an illegal gun in Tiruppur district last year. Passing an elaborate interim order, the judges said the country was facing threats not only from outside but also from inside with naxalites and organisations, such as United Liberation Front of Assam and the Islamic State waging wars within the country.

“Apart from the above forces, individuals, criminals and politicians, too started using unlawful firearms and it is reported in newspapers. In 2016, nearly 230 people were arrested in Tamil Nadu for possessing illegal firearms.”

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“It is stated that gun smuggling is being done from other States like Bihar, Jharkhand, Uttar Pradesh and Chhattisgarh where manufacturing of illegal arms is booming. In March 2020, it was reported that three persons, including a doctor, were arrested.

“They were accused of selling pistols illegally in Kumbakonam and police seized eight weapons including two belt revolvers and 67 bullets. Robberies are also taking place at gunpoint in various places of Tamil Nadu and especially in Chennai,” the court said.

Listing out the instances, it said a robbery was committed at the Indira Nagar branch of Indian Bank in April 2018 and five suspected robbers who committed bank robberies were shot dead in a police encounter at Velachery in 2012.

The judges said illegal firearms were being sold for Rs. 2 lakh per weapon in Tamil Nadu though they cost between Rs. 50,000 to Rs. 60,000 in the northern States. They also expressed shock over an illegal gun manufacturing unit detected in Salem in January this year.

On January 8, 2020, six ISIS terrorists were arrested for murdering Special Sub Inspector of Police Wilson at a checkpost on the border between Tamil Nadu and Kerala using illegal firearms as part of waging Jihad, the judges said.

Also taking note of complaints of police issuing licences for firearms without properly verifying the antecedents of the applicants, the Bench said: “If this gun culture is not contained and dealt with an iron hand, people’s life will not be safe.”

They ordered that a report should be filed in the court within two weeks providing details of the number of people arrested in the last 10 years for possessing illegal firearms, number of people to whom licences had been issued, number of cases booked and so on.

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