Tribune News Service
Bathinda, March 19
Ahead of the Lok Sabha elections scheduled for May 19 in the state, owners of licensed guns have started depositing their firearms with the police and private armouries. As per the police record, there are a total of 25,424 licensed arms in the district and so far only 8,313 have been deposited till March 17.
Bathinda SSP Dr Nanak Singh informed that the police were working overtime to ensure that all firearm holders deposit their licensed weapons at the nearest police stations as a preventive measure to ensure free and fair polls.
Issuing a word of caution, the SSP said the police would get a case registered under Section 188 of the IPC against those who did not deposit their weapons by March 31. Besides, cancellation of their arms licence would also be recommended by the police, he said.
As per the guidelines of the Election Commission, every arms holder is supposed to deposit licensed firearms at the nearby police station or deposit the same at any private gun house and deposit the slip at the police station.
Most licence holders in Bathinda possess .12 bore gun. Those living in agricultural fields or in remote areas on the outskirts of the cities, however, lamented that the campaign to deposit firearms would expose them to thieves or burglars in view of the rising criminal activities.
Most arms licence holders having costly firearms prefer not to deposit their weapons at the police stations but at gun houses. Those depositing arms at gun houses have pay to keep their weapons in safe custody.
It is learnt that during the Assembly elections, the police had not been able to get over 2,000 arms deposited in the district. So, the Election Commission is strict this time and has directed the police to ensure 100 per cent deposit of fire arms at the earliest. The EC has also directed that if the police fail to deposit 100 per cent arms, then strict action would be taken against the SHOs concerned.
SSP Dr Nanak Singh held a meeting with the SHOs in which he had directed them to prepare a list of their arm licencees in their area and call them to deposit their arms. If they did not deposit their arms, then issue them a notice to deposit their arms and if they still fail to do so, then a case should be registered against them.