Members of Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes are becoming targets

In the last five months, five people were shot dead, a girl was kidnapped at gun point and several were threatened of dire consequences by brandishing guns in Chikmagalur, raising concern for control on arms. As U.S. President Barack Obama, in his State of the Union address, pointed out many birthdays had been stolen by bullets in his country, mental peace and bread earners of many families have been taken away by arms in Chikmagalur too.

Two days ago (on Monday), an angry youth Devaraj of Gonibeedu of Chikmagalur taluk allegedly shot dead Jeevan (42). The heated exchange of words over fixing boundaries of a property in the village ended in murder.

In another incident, Prasanna allegedly kidnapped a minor girl by threatening her brother with his rifle, and then allegedly sexually assaulted her in an estate near Mudigiere on January 8.

Ajje Gowda allegedly shot at two persons, Ramashetti and Sudha, in connection with a row over a love affair at Havare village on October 3, last year. The villagers retaliated to the crime by attacking Ajje Gowda and killing him. It is reported that villagers threw stones at him and shot him to death.

In another incident, villagers of Bellur in Mudigere taluk allegedly killed a 38-year-old mentally-ill person, Prakash Naronha, after he killed a three-year old girl on the New Year Day. People reportedly used a rifle to kill him.

M.R. Channaiah, a resident of Addagadde in Sringeri taluk, suffered a bullet injury when M.K. Sandesh, of the same village, allegedly shot at him on December 23.

Many instances of atrocities and threatening of dire consequences with arms, particularly on Scheduled Castes and Scheduled Tribes, have been reported in the last few days. Ms. Vinoda, resident of Chekkudige village in Gonibeedu police station limits, was allegedly threatened with dire consequences by Nemiraj and others by aiming a rifle at her. A SC-ST atrocity case has been registered. These incidents show that many have been using arms frequently to murder, assault or threaten others. Prem Sagar, a lecturer of Mudigere, said that the government should restrict issuing gun licences. “At least there should be constant vigilance on the licence holders. If there are any reports of change in their social conduct, the local police should immediately recommend withdrawal of the licence.”

According to Additional Deputy Commissioner K.P. Honakeri, in Chikmagalur district 8,374 arms licences had been issued. “While issuing the licence we go through police report and check his antecedents. But we can’t reject the licence predicting his crimes,” he said. Asked whether the district administration had thought of restricting gun licences, the officer said there was no such proposal before the administration.

  • 8,374 arms licences have been issued in Chikmagalur district

  • We can’t reject a licence predicting a crime, says Additional Deputy Commissioner