Indians are the 2nd largest gun owners in the world
This piece is a lift from the Blog Quick take as it happens
Tamanchas (also known as desi katta, a locally made gun) are … illegal and indigenous weapons that are … Priced anywhere between Rs500 and Rs1,000, depending on the quality, … can be bought easily in the grey markets in UP, Delhi and Mumbai … Tamancha, panchfera (that fires five bullets), desi rifle, revolver—all are available locally for a fraction of the price of the real thing. Their clients seek them out through special agents and they are paid money in advance … These were craftsmen whose forefathers had crafted daggers and firearms for the Syeds, Lodis, Pathans and Moghuls, and knew all there is to know about smelting, welding and forging weaponry.
The villagers are … buyers of firearms in this region. Everyone here who must guard his crops and share in irrigation waters and travel to cities every now and then carrying cash, sports a tamancha. And having a gun under your pillow is considered a style statement in villages.
Most criminal acts, according to the police in western UP, are committed with this weapon. In case of police raids and during chase, it is easy to abandon this unlicensed weapon since it cannot be traced back to the owner. Occasionally, the police may also procure kattas or tamanchas from these factories. These are then “planted” during raids.
Meerut Kotwali, Sohrab Gate, Islamabad, Sardhana, Ganeshpur, Khurja, Dadri, Ghaziabad, Muzaffarnagar, Budhana, Shamli and Saharanpur areas are said to have thriving factories. In 2008, the police apprehended 2,213 people in Meerut, 3,369 in Ghaziabad, 1,700 in Bulandshahar, 2,165 in Gautam Buddha Nagar, 592 in Baghpat, 1,571 in Saharanpur and 1,604 in Muzaffarnagar for keeping illegal arms.
Six tamanchas could be produced, … in under 2 hours in his factory. He had learnt the art some 25 years ago and was now so experienced in crafting firearms that given a sample, he could create a copy of any sort of gun within two weeks.
It may be a crime in the eyes of some, masterji said philosophically, but he considered himself an honourable man who was bringing up a family on his hard-earned wages. (via Uttar Pradesh: the land of la tamancha – Economy and Politics – livemint.com).
Some very interesting points come out from these reports.
- These guns cost Rs.1000-1500 (US$20-US$30). At these costs, rampant criminalization of Indian population is very possible – and probable. So, why has that not happened?
- Most of these gun smiths are Muslims – and if the myth of the ‘oppressed Indian Muslim’ was true, then these guns would have been used for a mayhem, terror and crime.
- One report states that UP alone has 900,000 licensed fire arm holders and India has 4 crores (40 million) guns. Another report estimates more than 3 lakh illegal firearms in New Delhi alone. Estimates of the national stock of guns in the US varies between 40 million to 50 million households which own 200 million guns.
- Interestingly, UP, Bihar and Madhya Pradesh were at the heart of the British Raj – and the land grab from the peasants to the zamindars first happened here – especially, after 1857. Is that the reason for the lawlessness in this region?
- This was also the theatre of the 1857 War by Indians against the British Raj, which raged on for about 4-5 years. Obviously, guns were not imported – but produced locally. Were these the gunsmiths that had supplied the Indian armies with guns and munitions?So, how come India has lowest prison population, low-police-to-population ratios and the low-to-average crime rates?