Make a law to protect gun rights of Kodavas
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Make a law to protect gun rights of Kodavas

February 17, 2022

CNC says vested interests conspiring to include many others in Coorg by race classification

Mysore/Mysuru: A gun is an integral part of Kodava culture, used in many rituals including birth, death and festivals and the Karnataka High Court has already upheld the Arms Act exemption granted to every person of Coorg by race Coorg (Kodagu district). As such, a law must be made to ensure that the rights of Kodavas over guns continue, demanded Codava National Council (CNC) President Nandineravanda U. Nachappa.

 Addressing a press conference at Pathrakarthara Bhavan in the city yesterday, he said that all those who are settled in Kodagu are not Kodavas and attempts are being made by vested interests to portray a few communities as Coorgs (Kodavas by race). Attempts are being made at the highest official and political level to include many other communities in Coorgs by race classification for the sake of votes, he said.

“These vested interests who have settled in Kodagu — who are very different from the unique Kodava community — are systematically attempting to snatch away the exclusive rights of Kodavas by diluting the community itself and by demanding rights over guns. Kodava rights over guns are being questioned in the Court of law and the Courts have repeatedly upheld the Kodava community rights,” he noted.

The Kodava community has a long history with guns, and their culture is intrinsically linked with firearms. There are festivals in which gunshots are fired in the air, and a gun salute is performed when a child is born or a person dies. Firearms are an integral part of any Kodava festival, he said.

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The British in recognition of their martial traditions granted the community a special privilege to own firearms without a licence in 1861. The exemption was then issued by the Union Government in 1963 under the provisions of the Indian Arms Act, 1959.

The Centre had issued a notification exempting every person of (the) Coorg race and every Jamma land tenure holder in Coorg from the Indian Arms Act. There was no curb on the privilege even after Coorg, which was a separate State earlier, merged with Karnataka, he said.

“This exemption has been questioned in Courts by vested interests and the Courts have repeatedly ruled in favour of Kodava community. As such, this exemption must be safeguarded with a law to protect the interests of the community. Like the Sikhs have been granted to possess the Kripan, Kodavas must be granted rights to possess a gun,” he demanded.

Other CNC leaders Kaliyanda Prakash, Lieutenant Colonel (Retd.) Balladichanda M. Parvathi, Chambanda Janath Kumar and Apparanda Poovanna were present.

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