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Surrendering of guns ahead of elections :Farmers disarmed to fight wild boars in Kozhikode villages

INDSurrendering of guns ahead of elections :Farmers disarmed to fight wild boars in Kozhikode villages

The licensed shooters empanelled by various grama panchayats in Kozhikode to tackle wild boar menace are remaining jobless after surrendering their guns to comply with the election code of conduct. The request by local administrators to consider a speedy release of the surrendered firearms citing the increasing wild boar attacks on farmers is yet to be considered by the district administration.

Kodenchery is one of the five grama panchayats in the district where the attack by wild boars witnessed an increase with the stoppage of action by empanelled shooters. There were four major incidents within one month in which farmers sustained grave injuries. There were incidents in which wild boars emerged as threats to motorists on the road.

Kodenchery grama panchayat president Alex Thomas said the local administrators were were unable to take any action or issue special orders due to delays in releasing the surrendered firearms. He added the safety issues could be addressed only after releasing the surrendered arms to the shooters.

Farmers in villages like Koorachundu, Chakkittappara, Vilangad, Kakkayam and Kuttiyadi have also expressed disappointment over the delay. They complained that no other methods, including traps or scaring techniques, would work better to thwart the animals from cultivated fields.

“Only very few licensed shooters are now allowed to have firearms. Guns surrendered in the past had not been released to farmers citing legal complications. If firearms are not available for use now, the farmers will be defenceless,” said a settler farmer from Koorachundu, who was in the forefront of protests to grant gun licenses for eligible persons. He said the Central and the State government were found to be ignoring the demand for many years.

Some of the upland farmers from Thiruvambady, who had been earlier using guns to fight wild boar encroachments, said the existing gun license renewal system was highly unsatisfactory and complicated. “The records at the collectorate alone will be sufficient to reveal the number of pending renewal requests. Now, the surrendering of available guns has made the battle tougher for the farmers,” said K. Johnson, a farmer from Thiruvambadi.

Meanwhile, Revenue department sources said the surrendered arms could not be released without the completion of counting formalities. They said the local administrators and the empanelled shooters should understand the situation and cooperate with the existing guidelines.

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