After Arms Hauls, J-K Scanner On Gun Units
23 September 2006
The Indian Express
Jammu: Following reports of Naxalites in other states using double and single-barrel guns, the Jammu and Kashmir government has finally decided to clamp down on the production and sale of arms in the state. The state is second only to Bihar on the number of gun manufacturing units in the country and there are fears that the guns recovered in recent arms hauls in Naxal-affected states could have been from here. At a high-level meeting yesterday to review the security scenario in Jammu, Financial Commissioner (Home) B Kundal directed Deputy Commissioners and Superintendents of Police in the districts to inspect all 31 gun manufacturing units in the state. There are around 92 gun manufacturing units in the country. Sources said the inspection would focus on the total production in each unit and their list of clients in other states. The firms would be asked to furnish records for the past three years, including a list of shops selling the guns manufactured in the units. The Financial Commissioner (Home) said there were reports that double and single barrel guns are being supplied to Naxalites in other states. 'This exercise will help us to have complete data on the gun-manufacturing units in the state,' Kundal said. He was concerned that the government did not as yet have records of arms and ammunition manufacturing units in the state making it impossible to trace weapons. As part of the new drive, the records of gun dealers to whom supply is made from the state will also be checked. Gun licences are rarely issued to residents so the state needed to know where the guns were going, he said. 'Above all this, inspections will also help stop the manufacturers from falling into wrong hands. Within two months, the entire exercise will be completed,' he said. Sources said the state government had received inputs that many gun- manufacturing units had not renewed their licences for the past two to three years. A senior official on condition of anonymity added that the sale of guns in the state was far below production, implying that the guns were being sent to other states.