When it comes to guns and crime, Gurgaon is in a league of its own. Tuesday’s shooting incident inside an intensive care unit of one of its hospitals has only reinforced that image.
The district has recorded the highest illegal arms cases this year, as per the Gurgaon Police. “We are working harder than ever before,” says Maheshwar Dayal, Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Gurgaon.
While explaining the reasons why access to guns in Gurgaon had become so easy, Dayal made an alarming revelation. “Due to availability of the migrant population in Gurgaon, they have started home delivery. Earlier, you had to go to the factory in Madhya Pradesh or Uttar Pradesh to get it. Now your tenant is from that area. He lives here and he supplies it you. Every time he visits his hometown, he brings back two weapons.” (Reference here to illegal weapons factories.)
Asked what steps the Gurgaon police was taking to check this influx of weapons, Dayal said, “We are raiding places. We are conducting frequent checks. We are taking all these steps. If the public notices anything, they should bring it to our knowledge.”
What about cracking down on the source of these weapons, the illegal factories?
“We can only check the users. The factories are not in our areas. They are in other states. The migrants on demand from the locals are providing the supplies,” says the DCP.
Easy money – the result of Gurgaon’s real estate boom – and easy availability of guns, says Dayal, are largely responsible for Gurgaon’s arms culture, where guns have become a ‘status symbol’.
However, observers point out that ‘kattas’ or cheap country-made guns (illegally manufactured in factories) are increasingly being used in local hold-ups such kidnappings and carjacks.
The ‘gun culture’, says Pathania, a security expert from Gurgaon, has less to do with guns as a status symbol and more to do with the rise in crime Gurgaon.
“Here guns are means of employment,” he says.
On the public’s role in checking gun violence, Pathania says: “People should be more aware. Tenants should be properly verified. The involvement of public has to be there. And the police will have to build the confidence of the public so that they will give them information.”