Archive for February, 2010
A report by the daily says that, regardless of their profession, more and more women are acquiring weapons and are registering them with the Digecam regulatory agency.
Some 9,200 weapons have been registered at that agency in the name of women, a figure that represents 4 percent of the total weapons registered.
Digecam assistant director Guillermo Mejia said that while it is not very common for women to approach the institution, each day they are showing more interest in carrying a firearm for self-defense.
What is motivating women to arm themselves, the official told the daily, is the need to feel more secure and protected, because many of the women own businesses and have been the victims of crime.
Many of the women have received professional training on how to fire their weapons and others have been shown how to do so by their husbands or sons, Mejia said.
Activist Rosario Escobedo, of the Sector de Mujeres group, said she feels that violence will not be done away with by arming oneself and it is the duty of the authorities to provide security for the public.
But women have been strongly affected in recent years by the climate of insecurity.
Between 2003 and 2008, the murders of women increased in Guatemala by 179 percent, according to a report prepared by the national ombudsman’s office.
During 2009, 720 women were murdered in Guatemala and another 899 were injured in acts of violence, according to the same report.
Meanwhile, last month 40 women were killed in violent acts.
Guatemalan authorities blame gangs and other organized-crime elements for much of the violence in this Central American country of roughly 13 million people, which recorded 6,475 homicides last year, an average of 18 murders per day.
By comparison, 7,724 people were slain last year in neighboring Mexico, a nation of more than 100 million where rival drug cartels are waging war with each other and the security forces.
All but 4 percent of Guatemalan murders go unpunished, according to the U.N.-sponsored International Commission Against Impunity in Guatemala.
Bhopal, Feb. 22: For two years they have been firing blanks in bed. But the promised gun licence hasn’t come yet.
Virility lost, the men have now decided to take up the pen in their quest for the “ultimate symbol of manliness”.
A group of 84 in the Gwalior-Chambal region, who got themselves sterilised in exchange for a gun licence, is writing to Union home minister P. Chidambaram, Madhya Pradesh chief minister Shivraj Chauhan and the newly formed “National Association for Gun Rights in India” to press their case.
Contractor Lalit Gupta, photographer Bhupender Namdev, agriculturalist Hamid Hussain and others had queued up for a vasectomy operation in February-March 2008 after Shivpuri district collector Manish Srivastva had come up with the gun licence offer.
Two years have passed but there is no sign of a licence.
Senior officials in the state health ministry blamed bureaucrats. “It may have happened that while the collector, Srivastva, was keen to increase the number of vasectomies, the police and other wings of the government were less enthusiastic. Once he was transferred, everything has been forgotten,” said a senior official.
Gupta said he regretted going for the offer. “I have two daughters and now my relatives often taunt me for not having a son. My profession is such that I need a gun while travelling to far-flung areas. I also thought a gun would enhance my social stature. Today I feel I was taken for a ride,” said the 35-year-old contractor.
Namdev, 38, said a gun in the dacoit-infested Gwalior-Chambal region was an ultimate symbol of manliness. “But now we are being laughed at.”
Collector Srivastva was transferred last year and the new collector feigns ignorance about the scheme. “I have no knowledge about it. The offer of such an incentive is not there in any file,” Raj Kumar Pathak said.
In February-March 2008, Srivastva had come up with the idea while trying to figure out why men were not coming forward for a simple non-scalpel procedure that would keep the population in check.
The previous year, 2007, had seen only eight persons coming forward to attend “nasbandi (vasectomy) camps” in exchange for a cash incentive of Rs 1,100.
“I gathered that it had to do with their perceived notion of manliness. I then decided to match it with a bigger symbol of manliness, a gun licence,” Srivastva had said.
District chief medical officer A.K. Dixit admitted that with the licences proving elusive, vasectomy queues had dried up, too. At a recent camp in Shivpuri, only two elderly men turned up. “Once incentives are off, people lose motivation,” Dixit said.
Both Namdev and Gupta said a letter had been prepared requesting the home minister’s intervention.
Abhijeet Singh, co-ordinator of the National Association for Gun Rights in India, said the 2008 scheme was a “gross violation” of human rights. “This is no way of promoting population stabilisation.”
Originally appeared in The Telegraph-Calcutta 2/22/10
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