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Police bans public display of weapons in 2018

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(G.N.S) Dt. 30
The Kolkata Police has come out with a notification banning public display of weapons in the city for the whole of 2018. The order is effective from January 2. The December 20 notification “prohibit(s) any person from carrying swords, spears, bludgeons, or otherwise offensive weapons in any public place… for the preservation of the public and public safety”.
The notification specifies certain exemptions, but religious processions are curiously not among them. Since April, the Mamata Banerjee government has been embroiled in a bitter war of words with pro-Hindutva groups over its “selective targeting” of processions that involve public display of weapons.
Earlier this year, the display of offensive weapons at religious rallies had prompted the police to register FIRs under various non-bailable IPC sections, like 144 (joining unlawful assembly armed with deadly weapon), 148 (rioting, armed with deadly weapon), 149 (every member of unlawful assembly guilty of offence) and 153A (promoting enmity between different groups on grounds of religion, race) and the 25 (1A) of the Arms Act. But in the absence of a notification, the police action followed only after the “display of weapons” was carried out. The notification would now allow the cops to take pre-emptive actions like cancellation of permission to take out a procession.

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