THIS is apropos of the news item ‘Celebratory firing kills 12-year-old’ (Jan 30). Aerial firing is culturally a common practice in the Middle East, South Asia and South America on the occasion of wedding ceremonies and public celebrations which often result in accidental deaths.
An eye-opening incident occurred at a wedding ceremony in which the cable fell on a metal door due to aerial firing and, as a result, 23 people died by electrocution in the eastern province of Saudi Arabia in October 2012. The governor of the eastern province imposed a ban on aerial firing.
Last year, 10 people succumbed to injuries due to stray bullets and many suffered serious injuries because of celebratory gunfire on the occasions of wedding ceremonies, political and religious processions in Hyderabad.
Recently, a boy succumbed to injuries and his brother was seriously injured due to celebratory gunfire in Hyderabad. The incidents of firing in the air are increasing day by day at marriage ceremonies but the police take no action against such lawbreakers.
District police officers and other competent security and investigation agencies should enforce law against anyone who fires in the air during a wedding ceremony. The police must monitor wedding halls and neighbourhoods to ensure full compliance with the law to avoid further loss of life.
Besides, all segments of society must come forward and play their due role in checking aerial firing. Prayer leaders on Firdays can also perform their role in emphasising upon citizens the need to refrain from celebratory gunfire at weddings.
Furthermore, citizens should inform the police of such elements while the police ought to respond immediately to the complaint or whenever they hear gunfire in any area.
HASSAN SHAIKH (Criminologist) Hyderabad