Tuesday, June 19, 2012

Editorial, WE THE DISARMED PEOPLE, in LAW ANIMATED WORLD, 15 June 2012 issue, Vol. 8, Part 1, No. 11


despite the ever-recurrent demand throughout the national movement to repeal the Arms Act which the British introduced to disarm and make impotent our nation, have in our ‘wisdom’ chosen neither to repeal that Act nor to make the right to bear arms peaceably a fundamental right, as it is in the US Constitution. But that does not in any way deter the ruling classes, elite groups and criminal coteries to strut around with the show of all force of arms, so much so that every MLA or MP has or can become a chota nawab with all his armed gunmen parading at public expense and the trigger happy police too eager to fire at unarmed people protesting for various reasons at the least provocation. Traffic is at the whim and fancy of the so-called law enforcers diverted/stopped to enable such puny princes ride in joy at the cost of time and money of millions of people – all this is democracy of course with limited accountability. A learned person seriously contends on a website that right to bear arms though not specifically inscribed must be, and even is, read into the fundamental right to life under Article 21, citing some superior courts’ decisions too in support, but this editor is quite skeptical. When even a licensed revolver bearing citizen could be arrested/charged for firing joy bullets into air and the law enables or mandates to do so, and obviously that even without any harm/injury caused to anybody, and despite the existing customs in many countries, and even in states (like Bihar/Punjab) of firing into air on festive/joyous occasions {Swaggering young men shooting into the sky at weddings is part of the popular culture in rural and small-town Punjab - Tehelka}, then of what avail can this ‘reading into’ Article 21 be? This is not to lend our unqualified support to joy shooting in air but only to caution that such things have to be tackled more by persuasion/propaganda about possible/probable harm and injury to people by falling bullets than to take to hasty and nasty prosecutions to harass the citizens – that too out of considerations to irk the opposition parties, etc. More important, paying homage to Sivasagar (Com. SM recently deceased) and admiring his exquisite line that ‘the revolutionary arming the people is the poet today’ (Prajalanu sayudham chese revolutionary nedu kavi), we take this occasion to suggest that the right to bear arms peaceably needs to be constitutionally guaranteed, if only to undo the historic injustice perpetrated against us by the British as also to vindicate the fundamental rights to life and liberty of the people §§§