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Tuesday, May 30, 2023

Rinku Sharma’s brutal murder ignites gun rights debate among netizens

The brutality with which Rinku Sharma was murdered in the nation’s capital has sparked a debate among netizens regarding the rights to defend oneself considering that the establishment has repeatedly failed to protect Hindus be it Palghar or Kerala or West Bengal or Delhi.

Gun rights is an issue that has both pros and cons. It is important that we examine the present laws regarding rights of citizens owning a gun that they may use for self-defence. The colonial Arms Act of 1878 was repealed and replaced by the Arms Act of 1959 which was supplemented by the arms rules in 1962.

Even if the laws are better than that enacted by the British there are traces of colonial hangover in the laws nevertheless. The Act gives places arbitrary powers in the hands of licencing authorities thereby making the process to obtain a gun license a difficult and long-drawn one that may even take several years.

The laws regarding ownership of firearms as dictated by both the Arms Act and arms rules are as given below:

“The Arms Act 1959, classifies firearms into two categories- Prohibited Bore (PB) and Non Prohibited Bore (NPB). A bore simply is the thickness/ diameter of the bullet or so to speak, the hole in the middle of a barrel through which a bullet emerges.

Non Prohibited Bore weapons include arms such as- handguns of caliber .35, .32, .22 and .380. All civilians can apply for possession of an NPB by following the due procedure under Chapter II and Chapter III of the Arms Act 1959.

Prohibited Bore weapons include pistols(9 mm)  and handguns of caliber .38, .455  and caliber .303 rifles. They also include semi automatic and fully automatic guns. Earlier, usually only defence personnel and family heirlooms could be issued PB category weapons but following the terror attacks of 2008 in Mumbai, the Government had to re- think about its gun ownership norms. Now, civilians who are apprehended by “grave and imminent threat” to their lives or who live in terrorist- prone areas, or government officials who have made themselves targets in front of terrorists by nature of their job, or MLAs or MPs or of citizens associated with anti- terrorist programmes or their family numbers.  Issuing of license of PB weapons only applies to a specific species of weapons as notified by the Government in the Official Gazette, other species still remain prohibited to civilians.

Before 1987, the position was such that the license for possession of both of these categories could be granted by any state government personnel or any district magistrate. But after 1987, the granting of licenses for Prohibited Bore became entirely the responsibility of the central government.”

It is almost next to impossible for an ordinary citizen to own guns. Wion News details the process of gun purchase in Bharat. It also says “according to the National Crime Records Bureau, gun-related deaths increased from 3,063 to 3,655 between 2010 and 2014. But only 14 per cent of the victims in 2014 in India were killed by licenced guns. The rest were killed by illegal weapons, largely prevalent in the hinterlands.”

There is always going to be the risk of misuse, however, at present the bigger concern should be innocent Hindu lives being snuffed out just because they are vocally Hindus. This is even more important considering the fact that judicial and police systems are heavily biased against Hindus.

A case for judicial reforms has been made from time to time and the demand is not a recent one. It has always been easier for the so-called minorities to escape the clutches of law using the numerous loopholes while the same law is misused by vested political interests to jail Hindus. Ram Mandir verdict not withstanding, the Bharatiya judiciary has been and continues to be anti-Hindu.

The same judiciary which opens its doors at unearthly hours for terrorists but brushes aside insult to Hindu Dharma by stating that Hindutva is a political philosophy, can ever be expected to deliver justice to Hindus. We are dealing with a judiciary which can’t distinguish between superstitions and Hindu prayers such as Hanuman Chalisa. The judiciary suffers from a colonial hangover and borrows

European ideas of religion and thereby holds that those professing Sanatana Dharma don’t have religious denomination rights as guaranteed by Article 26 of the Bharatiya constitution. This underlines the fact as to why judicial reforms are urgently needed and also that judges need to be sensitized towards Hindu Dharma.

The insensitivity displayed by the Palghar police while three innocent Hindus were being lynched by a mob, the Munger police brutality, and the key accused in the Rinku Sharma murder case turning out to be a homeguard who was posted at Mongolpuri Police Station are some of the cases in point which show why police reforms are a must.

As we had said earlier the Bharatiya state treats Hindus, especially practising Hindus who still worship and honour the Gods their ancestors worshipped millennia ago, with thinly veiled contempt. In between the everyday discrimination encoded in our laws and systems, we get to see flashes of state brutality towards Hindus.

Till such time that the police and judiciary reforms are carried out and both these are made sensitive towards Hindus, the latter must be given the right to defend themselves. If the state cannot protect its citizens then at least the citizens must be allowed to protect themselves and their dear ones.

(Featured Image Source: Wion News)

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