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Minority panel poser to DMs on gun licences

In an unprecedented move the UP Minority Commission has asked all district magistrates to submit before the commission as to how many arms licences have been issued to the members of minority community against how many applications during the last three years. It has also asked the official concerned to explain before it why and on what grounds their applications were rejected.

Commission member Syed Riasat Nawab Rizvi has issued this circular to the district magistrates and has sought their report within a week. Explaining the reason behind this query, he said that the commission had been receiving complaints that district authorities were discriminating against minorities, particularly Muslims, in issuing arms licenses. Besides, there are complaints that Muslims are implicated in fake cases and harassed by the police. 

The commission has taken a serious view of both the complaints. Rizvi said that the commission had also written to the UP principal secretary (home) and director general police to issue strict instructions to their subordinate staff that the applications of the members of minority community for arms licences should be expedited on a priority basis and impartiality ensured. Rizvi suggested that whenever there were written complaints against the member of minority community the best course was that it should first be inquired into by an impartial authority and only then an final FIR be registered.

This move of the minority commission has been hailed by the community as it is after a long time that the commission has asserted itself . The commission had the worst period during Irshad Mirza's stewardship. After his unceremonial removal, Dr. Asheesh Massey was appointed chairman, who started playing his innings boldly and with confidence. In so many cases the commission acted suo motto, including in the case of this correspondent, who was picked up by Special Task Force (STF) sleuths with a colleague while going to offer namaz. 

They did it on some misunderstanding, and after realising their folly they released both of us with apology. The entire Lucknow press reacted sharply and the incident got first-page coverage. The commission issued suo motto notices to inspector general and senior superintendent of police (STF) to explain the case .There too the department accepted its folly and provided a written apology.

It was during the period of Tahir Asharfi that the commission asserted itself and many senior officers were summoned to the commission office and reprimanded. It was perhaps the pro-active stance of Asharfi that the then Chief Minister Kalyan Singh, who was unable to remove him as his term was for three years, decided to get rid of him by amending the rules, providing only one-year tenure to the chairman. 

After some persuasion, industrialist Irshad Mirza was appointed chairman. But he was just a token head and the commission never asserted under him. The situation was changed by Dr. Asheesh Massey, the new chairman.

Obaid Nasir in Lucknow

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