Vigilance raids DC office Udhampur; record pertaining to arms licenses seized

Nishikant Khajuria
JAMMU, June 29: In the case of alleged irregularities in issuance of arms licenses, the State Vigilance Organization Jammu today raided the office of Deputy Commissioner Udhampur and seized original record pertaining to the licenses.
During the day-long raid, files pertaining to issuance of around 20,000 gun licenses were seized for scrutiny and the exercise will continue tomorrow for seizure of the remaining record, official sources told the Excelsior.
Around 80 percent record of the gun licenses, issued and renewed between 2012 and 2016 by the concerned authorities at DC Office Udhampur, was seized till 7 pm, sources added.
As the today’s raid was in connection with investigation into alleged irregularities in issuance of the arms licenses between the period of 2012 – 2016 across the State, for which the Vigilance Organization has already registered two separate FIRs at Jammu as well as at Kashmir, sources said that similar raids are all set to be conducted in the remaining districts.
“We are mainly focusing on three to four districts of Jammu province, where the number of arms licenses issued during this period is huge,” sources further disclosed without divulging more details about the targets.
Pertinent mention that the Vigilance Organization Jammu and Vigilance Organization Kashmir have already registered separate case FIRs, number 11/ 2018 and 18/ 2018 at Police Station VOJ and Police Station VOK, respectively, in issuance of arms licenses in the State by the concerned authorities by allegedly misusing their official position and thus resorting to criminal misconduct.
The case FIRs were registered by the Vigilance Organization on the direction of State Home Department, which received complaint with regard to irregularities in issuance and renewal of arms licenses by the concerned authorities across J&K during the period 2012 to 2016.
The Home Department had found that according to a report of National Database for Arms Licenses, the number of arms licenses issued in some districts of the State has been exceedingly large in numbers. To ascertain whether the relevant provisions of the Arms Act, 1959 and the rules of 2016 have been followed by the licensing authority concerned, while issuing these arms licenses, the Vigilance Organization was asked to investigate into the matter.
According to a report by the Union Home Ministry, Jammu and Kashmir has issued second highest number of gun licenses in the country after Uttar Pradesh. UP which is largest State in the country, 12.77 lakh people have active gun licenses and in Jammu and Kashmir 3.69 lakh people possess arms licenses.
However, most of these J&K licenses have been issued to non-State Subjects, particularly to the Army and other security personnel, who are serving in the State and can get arms licenses from any district in Jammu and Kashmir where they are posted on the recommendation of a letter from the Commanding Officer of their unit.
The issuance of such a huge number of licenses to the non-locals clearly hints at nexus between the touts and the district authorities for monetary considerations, which is being investigated by the Vigilance.