Chennai: If you thought homes sporting an array of guns belonged in a scene from cowboys’ dwellings in wild west Mexico, think again. While not many Chennaiites may have had an opportunity to see and touch a gun in their lives, almost every family in a handful of villages in and around Kalvarayan hills in Villupuram district has kept country- made guns for years in their homes, according to the police.
Following strong warnings from the police, over 150 people in villages near Kalvarayan hills in Villupuram district had given up their country-made, illegally held guns by Friday. This was after the police unearthed an illegal gun factory two weeks ago. On Thursday evening, 25 guns were found in the Vengodu riverbed, and in the past two weeks, the police collected 152 guns that had been abandoned by the people.
“All those guns may not have been purchased from Subramani, 43, who was running an illegal gun factory at Papathimoolai village. But the people, mainly gypsies from the villages in the hillside, used the guns mainly for protecting themselves from wild animals occasionally, hunting. With restrictions from the forest department having increased over the years, the gypsies had stopped renewing their licences. They are now giving up all the guns they had for fear of the police,” a police officer said.
The police had arrested Subramani two weeks ago for running the gun factory and had seized raw materials for making guns from him besides arresting 10 people who were in possession of guns that they had bought from him.After Subramani’s arrest, the police starting getting information that it was not gypsies alone but a good number of villagers also in and around Kalvarayan hills in possession of guns. District superintendent of police V. Vikraman had camped on the hillside for some days to convince the villagers to give away their guns.The police suggested they abandon the guns on the banks of the river or other deserted places so that the police could pick them up on a daily basis without questioning anybody.