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Since 1st March, 1999
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Booming: guns, not babies
- Gun licences lure men to vasectomy camps in Chambal

Bhopal, March 5: Want a gun licence? Get ready to misfire in bed.

More and more men in the Chambal are opting for nasbandi — or vasectomy — in return for a promised gun licence in the dacoit-infested region.

In Shivpuri district, men are queuing up to get themselves sterilised. Last year, only eight had come forward in the entire district despite mega camps and cash incentives of Rs 1,100 for the person who opted for the vasectomy and Rs 200 for the motivator.

“This year, since I offered the gun licence preference, over 150 men have got themselves sterilised. I expect another 100 by the end of this month,” district collector Manish Srivastva told The Telegraph.

The idea came as Srivastva tried to figure out why the men were not coming forward for a simple non-scalpel procedure that would keep the population in check.

“I gathered that it had to do with their perceived notion of manliness. I then decided to match it with a bigger symbol of manliness, a gun licence,” Srivastva said.

Doctors specialising in men’s health said vasectomy did not in any way lead to loss of manliness. All it involved, they said, was cutting the vas deferens — thin ducts that transport sperm from the testes. And it does not significantly alter ejaculation other than removing the sperm from it.

“I don’t even see any analogy between the vas deferens and a gun,” said Sudhakar Krishnamurthy, an andrologist in Hyderabad.

But Srivastva said his ploy worked, more so as Chambal’s gun culture was legendary.

Guns are both a necessity and a status symbol here and it’s not hard to find a farmer in Chambal with broken shoes and riding an old bicycle with a gun worth Rs 60,000 slung over his shoulder.

In Shivpuri alone, there are over 11,000 licensed guns. Neighbouring Bhind has 19,000 while Morena has issued over 15,000 licences.

Local residents say there are an equal number — or even more — of unlicensed guns with dacoits and other outlaws.

“We have been recommended by chief medical officer Dr Dinesh Kaushik and our testimonial (discharge slip) has been attached with our application for a gun,” said Shivpuri resident Dinesh Dhakar who got himself sterilised on February 17.

Kaushik, too, said vasectomy did not affect sexual intercourse but most men — both urban and rural — were uncomfortable visiting a doctor who examines or treats medical conditions of the male pelvic region.

District officials said they were happy that the list of those opting for male vasectomy included a healthy percentage of Muslims.

So far, only Muslim women had been opting for permanent sterilisation.

Some experts, however, said the incentive was hardly a great idea.

“Where there are guns, even minor feuds often escalate into events that claim lives,” said former cop S.S. Shukla, who recently retired as ADG. “As a result, the crime graph in the Chambal division is set to go up. The government should consider other incentives.”

Suresh Rawat, a consultant urologist in New Delhi, said the licence-for-vasectomy idea was almost comical.

“It’s ridiculous and irresponsible on the part of the authorities,” he said.

But Chambal’s males aren’t complaining.

So what if they will be sterilised, aren’t they becoming more potent?

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