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Government continues British-era exemption given to Kodavas of Coorg for arms licence

The Kodavas are the only community in the country who are exempted from obtaining arm licenses. The exemption has been given for a tenure of 10 years, till 2029.

PTI|
Oct 30, 2019, 08.14 PM IST
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One cultural reason for giving the exemption is that Kodava homes are far away from each other, in some cases could be as far as a km.
NEW DELHI: The Centre has decided to continue a British-era rule of exempting the Kodavas of Coorg, a well-known martial community in Karnataka, from obtaining licence for firearms such as pistols, revolvers and double-barrelled shotguns. The Kodavas worship weapons during the 'Kailpodh' festival and the decision has been taken considering the cultural and religious sensitivities of the community that belongs to the Coorg region of the state.

"Those who have been given the exemption are every person of Coorg by race and every jumma land tenure holder in Coorg," according to a Home Ministry notification.

The Kodavas are the only community in the country who are exempted from obtaining arm licenses.

"The arms or ammunition carried or possessed by any person being from Coorg by race and every jumma tenure holder in Coorg and herein exempted whilst residing or travelling outside the district of Coorg shall not exceed one rifle with 100 rounds of ammunition for the same and one smooth bore breech or muzzle loading gun with 500 cartridges or the equivalent in leaden shot and gunpowder," the notification said citing conditions of the exemption.

The exemption has been given for a tenure of 10 years, till 2029.

The Kodavas have been getting the exemption of obtaining arms licence since the British era and the central government has provided the exemption in the Rules issued under the Arms Act, officials said.

The Kodavas are getting the the exemption for over a century as firearms were never misused in crimes or anti-national or anti-state activities, a home ministry official said.

One cultural reason for giving the exemption is that Kodava homes are far away from each other, in some cases could be as far as a km.

"In older times when communication links were poor, a Kodava used to inform his neighbour by firing a single shot in the air about a newborn and two shots in case of any death in the family," a prominent Kodava, who lives in Delhi, said.

Field Marshal K M Cariappa and General K S Thimayya were from Coorg and they headed the Indian army.

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