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SVO asked to probe issuance of individual arms licences in ‘contravention of rules’

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Gun license racket under scanner

Srinagar, Jul 15: The Jammu and Kashmir Home department has ordered an inquiry by the State Vigilance Organisation into large-scale issuance of individual arms licences in alleged contravention of rules.

The department issued the order following reports of alleged fake gun license racket operating in the state.

Besides directing the State Vigilance Organisation (SVO) to probe into the matter, the department ordered the Divisional Commissioners of Kashmir and Jammu regions to verify all cases of individual new arms licenses issued between January 01, 2017, to February 23, 2018, in eight districts of the state and furnish a detailed report to it within a month.

“Pending verification by the divisional commissioner concerned, the district magistrates of Kishtwar, Kupwara, Ganderbal, Leh, Rajouri, Ramban, Reasi and Udhampur will not issue any new individual arms license till further orders,” it said.

The Home department directed the remaining district magistrates to exercise due diligence and care while granting new individual arms license in terms of the extant legal provisions and furnish a regular monthly statement to the Home department by fifth day of the succeeding month without fail.

“It was deemed appropriate to have a whole gamut of facts/issues investigated through an impartial investigation agency in addition to the enquiries, which are already underway. Accordingly, the matter has been referred to the State Vigilance Organisation for investigation and appropriate action in terms of law,” the Home department order read.

It has also ordered that all district magistrates will ensure strict compliance to the provisions of the Arms Rules, 2016, at the stage of renewal of an arms license.

“The district magistrates of the state will take urgent steps to revoke all such individual arms licenses issued to various persons excluding the personnel of State Police, Army and Central Armed Police Forces (CAPFs), which don’t meet all the conditions prescribed in Rule 11 and Rule 12 of the Arms Rules, 2016.

“Further, the district magistrates will direct all such persons, whose licenses are revoked, to deposit their arms and ammunition with the officer in charge of the nearest police station, failing which action as warranted under law will be initiated. This action should be concluded within 15 days of issue of this order and compliance reported to the Home department,” the order stated.

The government observed that issues related to grant of individual arms licenses in Jammu and Kashmir has an implication on security of the public peace and safety.

Referring to an enquiry already ordered into issuance of arms licenses in the last year, the order noted that the inquiry was ordered following inputs received from the CID of Jammu and Kashmir Police with regard to issuance of a large number of individual arms licenses in certain districts of the state.

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