Continue exemption to possess firearms, demand literary bodies

The Kodava Sahitya Academy and Arebhashe Samskriti Mathu Sahitya Academy will urge the Ministry of Home Affairs to continue the exemption to possess firearms under Section 3 and 4 of the Indian Arms Act.

At a meeting convened on Wednesday, to collect public opinion on the issue, the Kodava Sahitya Academy president B S Thammaiah said that a delegation under the leadership of MP Prathap Simha would be taken to Delhi to impress upon the Home Ministry.

“The public should give their opinion on exemption to possess firearms in writing. All the written opinions will be compiled and submitted to the Central government,” he said.
Arebhashe Samskriti Haagu Sahitya Academy President Kolyada Girish said, “There are several burning issues in Kodagu. Now, the issue of exemption to possess firearms has appeared. We are not ready to lose the exemption given to us.”

Napoklu Kodava Samaja President Uthappa demanded, “Exemption to possess firearms by every person of Coorg race and every Jamma holder should be continued.”

P J Ayyappa said the circular issued by the British rules mentions the term ‘Coorg race.’ There is a need to define the term ‘race’ to make the officials and the government understand, he insisted.

Kudukuli Bharath said, “All the traditional dwellers of Kodagu come under Coorg by race. I had availed exemption to possess firearms way back in 1976.
“The exemption is not restricted to Kodavas alone. It is related to all the traditional dwellers of Kodagu. We have to protect our rights.”

Kodagu Gowda Vidya Sangha member and Advocate Dayanand concurred, “The exemption to possess firearms has been given to ‘gallant people of Coorg’, according to a circular issued by the British Commissioner Cubbon in 1861. The circular does not mention one community alone.

“The ‘Coorg race’ is not restricted to one caste or creed alone. The circular on Coorg race has been misunderstood by the officials. The exemption enjoyed by the traditional dwellers of Kodagu prior to 1976 should be continued.”

Codava Makkada Coota President Bolajjeera Ayyappa said, “Coorg, by race, is only Kodava community. There is no need to create confusion in this regard.”

List of communities
Kodava Bhashikara Sangha District President Sara Changappa said, “When K G Bopaiah was the Speaker of the Assembly, the State government had submitted a list of communities that come under ‘Coorg by race’ to the Kodagu deputy commissioner. The list includes all the traditional dwellers of Kodagu.”

Advocate Yaladaalu Manoj Bopaiah said, “The exemption given by the British regime is continued by the Central government through a circular. The exemption is not a legislation passed in the Parliament. In case the government feels that the exemption will create discrimination among communities, then it will be withdrawn. The right is not bestowed on a particular community. Instead, it is given to the residents of a geographical area. There is a need to convince the government that the exemption has been availed by the Codavas, Arebhashe Gowdas and other community members in the district.”

Legislators K G Bopaiah and Appachu Ranjan should impress upon the Home Ministry through Union Minister for Law Sadananda Gowda, he said and added, “As we do not have time, we have to act swiftly.”

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