On Monday, Sivakumar from Soriyankuppam was admitted to the Indira Gandhi Government General Hospital with fractures on both legs caused by a gunshot.

He was hit by a shot fired from a gun in the possession of five youths from Soriyankuppam who had been using it to hunt rabbits.

The Bahour police said the group had gone to a local casuarina grove to hunt small animals and had seen Sivakumar at a distance and fired at him by mistake. Tamileniyan, Narayanan, Pandydurai, Sivakumar and Seethabalan were arrested.

This incident highlights the possession of illegal guns and firearms by people who use them for a variety of purposes. The Narikuruva community, for example, continues to hunt despite an order from the District Election Officer to surrender all arms. So far, 155 arms have been surrendered and 72 have been impounded. Nineteen arms licences have been cancelled. Many people, including Narikuruvas, however, have not surrendered their arms.

“Our main food is from hunting cats and other animals, so the government’s rule does not make sense. Many of us have started using alternative methods to hunt, but others still continue to keep their guns,” said a member of the narikuruva community at Lawspet.

A Revenue Department official says the department has issued notice to all arms licence-holders, but it is impossible to trace down everyone who possesses a gun illegally. So far, only this one case has come to light, but there are definitely others. There is very little that can be done, since these rifles are used for illegal hunting, so they are not registered anywhere.

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