The dangerous practice of celebratory firings in north India, particularly in Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh. It highlights the prevalence of such incidents, the lives lost, and the injuries caused by these firings. The article also explores the reasons behind this practice and the social and cultural factors that contribute to its continuation.
Ankush Yadav, a 13-year-old student, was shot and killed at a male-dominated ceremony in Thallu Bigha village, Bihar.
The incident occurred during a tilak ceremony, where red vermillion was applied on the foreheads of men and women were called to entertain the guests.
A man named Priyanshu Kumar fired a shot from a country-made gun, hitting Ankush in the stomach.
Ankush's mother, Kusum Devi, was informed of the incident and rushed to the scene, where she found her son lying in a car in a pool of blood.
Celebratory firings, where men fire shots in the air at weddings and birthday parties, are common in north India, particularly in Bihar, Punjab, Haryana, and Uttar Pradesh.
Despite being a punishable offence with imprisonment and fines, celebratory firings continue to occur, resulting in deaths and injuries.
Celebratory firings in villages of Uttar Pradesh have resulted in deaths and injuries.
In Kotiya Pure Dhani village, a teenager named Ajay Kumar was shot in the head during a pre-wedding ceremony.
Ajay's father, Suresh, expresses devastation over the loss and mentions that Ajay had dreams of starting his own work in the tent market.
Pintu, 28, has been charged under the Scheduled Caste and Scheduled Tribes (Prevention of Atrocities) Act, 1989, and Section 304 of the IPC.
Celebratory firings are common in India, regardless of the communities involved.
The police attribute the rise in celebratory firings to India's gun culture and easy availability of alcohol.
Uttar Pradesh has witnessed at least 15 incidents of celebratory firings resulting in injuries or death in the last 11 months.
In 2021, the state reported 71 deaths due to accidental firing, according to the National Crime Records Bureau.
The Allahabad High Court had banned the issuing of arms licenses by the district administration in 2014, except in exceptional cases, due to the prevalence of gun culture during celebrations.
Private citizens in Uttar Pradesh possess nearly five times the number of guns compared to the state police.
The ban on arms licenses was lifted in November 2017 after gun sellers petitioned the court, citing a negative impact on their business.
Brandishing guns and firing shots is seen as a sign of masculinity in Bihar
This practice is not limited to dominant castes, but also includes Other Backward Classes
It is a feudalistic practice that glorifies the image of the macho man
Bihar Police have introduced new guidelines to prevent deaths and injuries from celebratory firings.
Organizers of social functions must sign a declaration form stating that no firearms will be used.
Both the bride and groom's sides must give an undertaking that weapons, including licensed ones, will not be used.
In 2023, 100 people have been arrested and 21 arms seized in connection with celebratory firing cases.
Superintendents of Police have been instructed to cancel the licenses of arms involved in celebratory firing.
Arms sellers in Patna verify documents with the District Magistrate's office before selling guns.
It is difficult to obtain an arms license in India, leading people to purchase country-made guns that do not require documents.
Country-made guns called katta are commonly used in celebratory firing and are available for ₹2,000-3,000.
Illegal gun sellers in Patna profit during the wedding season, selling katta for higher prices.
Bihar Police have discovered over 28 mini gun factories operating illegally and seized 2,800 illegal weapons and over 18,000 live cartridges in the last nine months.
Many victims of celebratory firing are young
Victims often initially make excuses and claim self-defense before it is revealed to be celebratory firing
Bihar is described as a semi-feudal society, which is believed to contribute to the prevalence of celebratory firing