Chambal Polls: Guns rule 'badlands' of Bhind-Morena
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Election is just another passing season in the Chambal ravine or "beehads" which has harboured dacoits for centuries.
In the badlands of districts Bhind-Morena, the discourse is back to basics - life and livelihood.
Dacoits no more exist or at the least the administration believes so, but the deprivation remains.
However, the fascination for guns rules all and sundry and it is a daunting task for the police to ensure that all the licensed guns are seized before each election in the region, where temper runs high and blood is frequently spilled over minor land disputes.
As many as 630 licensed weapons have already been seized by policemen in Sinhonia of Dimni Assembly constituency in Morena district.
Criss-crossing the tumultuous, unwieldy, deep and high of the huge anthill like mud structures as one reaches Bhidousa, the village of Pan Singh Tomar, the protagonist of Bollywood director Tigmanshu Dhulia's acclaimed film, the story is no different.
The annoyed glance of a dozen youths playing cards at the entrance of the village, mostly in their forties, welcomes visitors.
"We play cards and while away our time," is the curt response of a brash youngster when asked what they do to eke out a livelihood.
Cutting across community lines, the villagers swear by guns and justify their fascination for it citing needs like "self defence" and "livelihood".
"These guns get our youths jobs as security guards in cities. What to do? There is no other occupation. They try to get into Armed forces. Those who fail to make it join as security guards. Those without gun licenses and poor end up being agriculture labour here or daily wagers in cities," says Sandip Mahour, a BCA pass-out and Panchayat Gram Rojgar Sahayak from Bhidousa.
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