‘It has implication on public peace & security’
Home Department of Jammu and Kashmir Government has asked the District Magistrates (DMs) of seven districts of Jammu as well as of Kashmir to not to issue new individual arms licenses till further orders.
The District Magistrate of the district Kishtwar, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Leh, Rajouri, Ramban and Udhampur have been directed not to issue any new individual arms licenses till further orders, reads J&K Government’s Home Department order number 922-Home of 2016 Dated July 12, 2018.
The order was issued by the Principal Secretary of the Government, Home Department, RK Goyal.
The order reads that “inputs have also been received from the CID wing of Jammu and Kashmir Police with regard to issuance of various large number of individual arms licenses in certain districts of Jammu and Kashmir and accordingly, an enquiry has been ordered vide order number: 1307-Home of 2017 dated April 20, 2017 through Financial Commissioner, J&K Govt, KB Agarwal.”
The Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India has also reported indiscriminate issuance of arms licenses within the State with specific reference to certain districts, the order said.
The Home Department after taking Suo-Moto cognizance based on data generated from National Database for Arms Licenses (NDAL) portal found indiscriminate issuance of individual licenses in some districts from January 1, 2017 to Feb 23, 2018.
The Divisional Commissioners of Jammu as well as of Kashmir, as per the order, have been directed to verify all the cases of individual new arms licenses issued during the aforesaid period in respect of Kishtwar, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Leh, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi, and Udhampur in terms of extant legal provisions and furnish a detailed report to the Home Department within a period of one month, the order reads.
As per the order, “The District Magistrates of remaining districts (excluding above said seven districts) shall exercise due diligence and care while granting any new individual arms license in terms of extant legal provision and furnish a regular monthly statement to the Home Department by 5th of the succeeding months without fail.”
The District Magistrates of Jammu and Kashmir shall take urgent steps to revoke all such Individual Arms Licenses issued to various persons, consequent to the notification of arms rules, 2016 as do not meet all conditions prescribed in rule 11 and rule 12 of the arms rule, 2016, said the order.
The order shall not be applicable on the armed personnel like J&K Police, Army and CAPFs. “The district magistrates shall direct all such persons, whose license is revoked, to deposit any arms or ammunition, with the officer In-charge of nearest police station, in terms of section 21 of Arms Act, 1959, failing which action as warranted under law shall be initiated,” reads the order.
The orders should be implemented within 15 days and compliance should be reported to the Home Department, it said.
“All the District Magistrates shall ensure strict compliance with the provisions contained in Arms Rules 2016 at the stage of renewal of an arms license.”
The order further states that, “It was deemed appropriate to have the whole gamut of facts investigated though an impartial investigation agency in addition to aforementioned enquiries, which are already under way.”
The matter has been referred to the State Vigilance Organisation for investigation with regard to the arms licenses and further appropriate action in terms of laws.
The Home Department has observed that the issues related to grant of individual arms licenses in Jammu and Kashmir has an implication on security of “public peace and public security.”
The order came in view of number of instances of unearthing of fake gun licensing rackets reported in media, and under investigation though various investigating agencies, particularly ATS, and SOG, Rajasthan, Jainpur.