Mumbai Police collects 205 licensed weapons ahead of polls
Mumbai Police has launched an exercise to collect licensed arms in the city ahead of Lok Sabha polls, a drive which has led to 205 weapons being surrendered so far
As per the directives of the Election Commission, government authorities are required to collect arms, prior to election as a precautionary measure in order to ensure fair and peaceful elections.
Soon after the elections are announced, District Magistrate and Police Commissioner make a detailed and individual review and assessment under prevalent laws of all the weapon license holders.
However, the High Court had earlier noted that this order required district magistrates/police officers to first check every weapon holder’s antecedents. The notice to surrender arms till the elections get over was to be issued only if found necessary in an individual case.
The weapon license holders, who had been released on bail, having a history of criminal offences, and previously involved in rioting at any time, but especially during elections, are mandated to deposit the firearms with the police.
“So far 205 persons submitted their firearms. Going by the previous records, the Mumbai Police, on an average, got deposit of about 350 firearms ahead of elections in the city,” said an officer.
License holder, if fails to deposit arms within specified period, shall be liable for prosecution under section 188 of the IPC. All fire arms so deposited shall be returned to the license holders immediately after one week after the declaration of results.
As many as 13,000 licensed firearms were issued in the city. Some businessmen, film stars, retired police personnel and ex-servicemen possess personal weapons after securing permission from the concerned local police, citing security reasons.
However, sportsmen, members of National Rifle Association and those facing life threats are among the exempted lot from these restrictions, the officer said.
Two committees have been set up to filter the licensed weapon holders since some of them need to be exempted.
“There is a scrutiny committee and a review committee that carry out the process. The scrutiny committee consists of a deputy commissioner-level officers, whereas, the review panel is conducted by a joint commissioner-level officer,” the officer added.
The Mumbai city will go to polls on April 24.