That a few unscrupulous elements were enjoying the warmth from the house in flames is reprehensible and immoral and in the matter under reference, unsatisfactory and disturbed conditions in the State should be alibiing factor for a few people to resort to illegal and immoral ways in connection with issuing of arms licences , should get such a response from the rigours of law that no one ever dares to embark upon such debased anti national activities like issuing such licences on “wholesale basis”.
Why were arms licenses indiscriminately issued from as many as eight districts of Jammu and Kashmir? Besides, the bulk of these licenses having been issued in just one year from Jan 2017 to Feb 2018 leads to various reasons to feel quite suspicious about the manner, purpose, reason and the procedure adopted in respect of these licenses. The circumstantial evidences and prima facie appearance of the whole issue gatecrashes at a scam having taken place. That there are reasons to smell a rat in the entire matter by the Union Ministry of Home Affairs and National Database for Arms Licenses (NDAL) have led the Government to order an inquiry into the entire scam through the State Vigilance Organization . A ban has been imposed on issuance of any individual arms licence by the District Magistrates of the State as also revoked ones which did not meet the laid down guidelines.
The districts where sort of “free for all” system had crept in especially in respect of indiscriminate issuance of licences have been identified. These are eight districts of the State like Kishtwar, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi and Udhampur in Jammu region and Kupwara and Ganderbal in Kashmir and Leh in Ladakh region.
It hardly needs any emphasis that obtaining and issuing of a licence for a weapon should meet without exception, all the required procedures, verifications and cross checks to rule out any sort of mischief or the weapon thus acquired or purchased, reaching into the hands of undesirable and criminal hands. That in a State like Jammu and Kashmir which is reeling under terrorism sponsored from across the border, extra care and caution needed to be exercised and any laxity or any other breach into the fortified procedures and guidelines, simply cannot be brushed aside or its implications underestimated. That speaks for the Home Department of the Jammu and Kashmir Government having issued a detailed order to this effect.
Since the matter is of extreme sensitivities loaded with concerns in respect of peace and security, it has been deemed appropriate to have the entire range and spectrum of the issues and facts thoroughly investigated through an impartial investigation agency. That obviously must be in addition to the enquiries already underway. The State Vigilance Organization to which the matter has been referred to for investigation , must expectedly go deep into the entire scam to unearth the nexus, if any and find out and unravel the entire range of those involved in the entire episode which has reasons to cause ripples of the sorts .
It is in the fitness of things to have a moratorium ordered on issuing of any fresh individual arms licence by the District Magistrates of the State under various provisions of the Arms Act till further orders and further take action by way of revoking of all such individual arms licences issued to various individuals excepting the personnel of State Police, and other security forces. Noteworthy aspect of the Governmental order is that all such persons whose licences are revoked have to deposit their arms and ammunition with the nearest Police station within 15 days failing which action could be taken.
We expect the Government to mean strict business in the most sensitive issue as the one under reference and bring under the ambit of the full fledged enquiry and investigation, all cases of fake gun licences and any organized racket associated with it, as the matter is highly precarious in nature.