New Delhi: After attacking Home Minister
P Chidambaram on the handling of Naxal issue, Congress leader
Digvijay Singh has now trained his guns on the Home Ministry
for bringing in amendments to the Arms Act alleging that it
undermines the citizen`s right to keep weapons.
Singh, who is patron-in-chief of the National
Association for Gun Rights India, today led a delegation of
MPs belonging to Congress, BJP and SP, who met Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh and opposed the changes.
The delegation included Jaswant Singh, S S Ahluwalia
and Shahnawaz Hussain (BJP), Brij Bhushan Sharan Singh (SP),
Naveen Jindal, Anil Lad, Sanjay Singh, Fransisco Sardinhia,
Manish Tewari and Rakesh Singh (all Congress).
In a memorandum to the Prime Minister, it alleged that
in the guise of moving a minor amendment to the Arms Act,
ostensibly to make police verification mandatory and creating
a database, the Home Ministry has quietly moved to change
other important aspects of the law with the "goal of
undermining every citizen`s legal right to keep and bear
"The ministry through its new policy has in effect
changed the law and how it is implemented, without seeking
parliamentary approval or following proper procedures," the
It claimed the very basis of the new arms policy is
the flawed assumption that "the proliferation of arms, whether
licensed or illegal, vitiates the law and order situation" and
added that it was not clear how the ministry arrived at such
"In fact the ministry has admitted in Parliament that
it has conducted no study/assessment linking firearms to rise
in crime rate. Such statements are also a direct insult to
lakhs of honest law abiding citizens who keep and bear arms
responsibly, by equating them to common criminals," the
Criticising other changes brought in the law, the
delegation said the new arms policy requires a citizen to
prove grave and imminent threat to life prior to the grant of
It is an "attempt to illegally amend the relevant
sections of the Arms Act" which clearly outline conditions
under which arms license applications are to be approved or
denied", the delegation said in the memorandum.
"Proving grave and imminent threat" is impossible for
an ordinary citizen and will lead to large scale corruption
and deny honest middle class citizens the only means with
which to protect themselves, it said.
The memorandum was also critical of the changes for
issuing all India validity arms license. Earlier it was the
respective state government who was the license issuing
authority and now the Ministry of Home Affairs will issue
licenses in all (non VIP) cases.