Are gram pradhans perceiving threat?
THERE HAS been 50 per cent increase in gram pradhans’ rush for gun licenses this year.
Well, does it mean an equivalent rise in their threat perception? The data suggest so. But, there are many interesting reasons forwarded by the GPs to justify why they want gun licenses.
“I need license as I am facing threat from my poll adversary,” says a gram pradhan (GP).
Another feels that without the fire arms, he would not be able to carry out development work in his village as he perceives threat from goons in the business of building material. But, a few of said they wanted licenses because of family feuds.
“Land dispute with my cousin has posed my life in danger,” says another applicant, while another gram pradhan from the erstwhile ruling party has sought the license to serve people during the night hours.
“Most of the anti-social elements operate during night hours and I want to protect my men from them,” he reasoned. Another applicant reasoned that he urgently needs firearms to protect his cattle from thieves.
As per records with the concerned department, about 400 licenses have been issued so far, while many more are pending for want of police verification, and medical certificates, says an official.
Second to follow the demand for gun licenses are the youth aged 21 and 25.
“Though many applications in this category have been held back for the simple reason that a majority of them want to keep firearms as status symbols,” says one of the officials. Last month, he says, applications from minors for firearms licenses were rejected. Five per cent of the applications come from the students, adds the official.
Till July 15, the number of applications pending with the collectorate is 21,636. In the fortnight from July 1 to July 15, the department received 215 applications. In June, the number of applications pending was 21419. The department received 401 applications taking the total 21820, of which 341 have been rejected.