By Srishti Chauhan:
The murders of Radhika Tanwar and Anna Mammen in the past week have brought to light what has been a rapidly escalating problem that the national capital region (NCR) faces. The fact that both these females were killed brings to light the ease of murder. As said in the book by the author Agatha Christie, “Murder is easy”. Certainly, this seems to be the case for Delhi.
According to the report published the week before in Hindustan Times, 93% of the murders in Delhi are committed by first-time murderers and 90% of the crimes are conducted using illegal guns.
Murderers, as per a police report, resort to killing using guns because the way is quick and nearly always successful. The same results cannot be achieved with a blade or a knife. The questions that come to mind are quite general yet crucial.Â How does a killer get hold of these guns? Are licensing of guns not a problem? Moreover, licensed guns are easily traceable… so why don’t the police speedily catch the culprit within hours of committing the crime?
Well, a lot of problems associated with the same have been rife in the capital for long. Firstly, the availability of country made guns to the ordinary citizen has become far too easy. These guns can be nearly effortlessly manufactured even in the shops of a village craftsman. The technology is not supreme. In fact, the simplest gun can be made from a water pipe.
These weapons are grossly illegitimate and a person caught with such a weapon is liable for imprisonment as well as a hefty fine. However, despite strict laws, the lack of implementation has made a gag of the entire system. In fact, the Delhi Police estimates have suggested that the number of unlicensed guns is nearly 5 times the number of licensed guns- which are only 55,000. These guns are generally procured from the nearby regions of Uttar Pradesh, Bihar and Haryana. Uttar Pradesh is, in fact, considered to be the hub of the unlawful weapon manufacturing business.
Over the years various countries, like Brazil, Zambia, and South Africa have faced the problem of illegitimacy of weapons possessed. These weapons- manufactured within the country or smuggled from abroad- pose a giant threat to the society as well as the individual themselves. The crude guns made from lack of sophisticated technology have a large probability of backfiring and hence killing the person handling the gun.
According to the International Action Network on Small Arms, Amnesty International and Oxfam, India accounts for about 40 million of the 75 million illegal small arms currently in circulation.
The governments have resorted to various techniques in different countries to encourage people to give their arms. The most widespread technique has been offering financial bounties and amnesty to those who posses illegal weapons.
A vital question that arises is why would a person who intends to kill someone using a gun give it up for a small amount of money? The thought itself is ridiculous.
Another more acceptable form of controlling the spread of these industries is to crack down on the factories that manufacture them. These factories are generally located on the outskirts of cities and more often in semi-rural areas. The village craftsmen who generally operate this as a business should be tracked down and taken into custody. Moreover, the supply chain of the ammunition required for the operation of these weapons should be clogged.
For the already existing weapons, not many measures are at the disposal of the government. One of the measures is to carry out surprise checks in public places as well as residential colonies. This system, however, would be expensive and the probability of success would be minute.
The final question that needs to be posed is: What gives the ordinary citizens the guts to murder another person? Does the fear of police and law not need to be re-instilled in the people?
All these question point towards one thing: The fear of the police as well as constant vigilance by the civil society in general is the need of the hour. Neither one section can put the blame entirely on the other as both are responsible for creation of a safe and secure society. As rightly pointed out by the Chief Minister of Delhi, Ms. Dixit, “According to the 200 people present in the vicinity when Radhika Tanwar was murdered, the police did not do anything. I would like to ask them- What did you do?”