Bhubaneswar: The Naveen Patnaik Cabinet in Odisha has two ministers who in their annual property returns have admitted to owning licensed firearms. The two heavyweight cabinet ministers are – State Revenue Minister Sudam Marandi (from Mayurbhanj district) and Health Minister Naba Kishore Das (from Jharsuguda district).
The APR filed today for the year 2019-20 has shed light on the top guns of the Naveen Patnaik government. The statement reveals owing multiple firearms by the heavyweights in the BJD government.
While Revenue minister Sudam Marandi (legislator from Bangirposi) owns one .25 Bore Pistol and another MP bore Revolver, State Health Minister Naba Das (MLA from Jharsuguda) have a collection of three firearms – Bore Revolver, Bore Rifle and Bore DB BL gun.
Difference Between Pistol, Revolver
Both are handheld firearms that spew fire. But the basic difference is while pistol has a single or more chamber to load bullets; Revolver carries multiple chambers to load bullets, and as the name suggests the multiple chambers inside the cylinder rotates or say revolves around. A revolver can fire 6 shots.
[caption id="attachment_508298" align="alignnone" width="766"] Left-Pistol, Right-Revolver[/caption]
Who Can Own Firearms?
As per the Arms Rules 2016, the licensing authority will issue a license of firearms based on the police report and/or his own assessment. The Act says the authorities may consider the applications for a license to …
1) Any person who by the very nature of his business, profession, job or otherwise has genuine requirement to protect his life and/or property /crop protection
2) Any dedicated sportsperson being an active member for the last two years, of a shooting club or a rifle association, licensed under these rules and who wants to pursue sport shooting for target practice in a structured learning process
3) Any person in service or having served in the Defence Forces, Central Armed Police Forces or the State Police Force and has a genuine requirement to protect his life and/or property.
4) Any person who inherited the firearms from his father, provided the person is not listed in the prohibited category
As per Association of Democratic Reforms (ADR) report, when there were no criminal charges against Odisha health Minister Naba Das, there were nearly a dozen of criminal charges against the State Revenue Minister Sudam Marandi.
A look into the charges slapped shows they were IPC sections like 143 (unlawful assembly), 147 (rioting), 148 (rioting armed with a deadly weapon), 149 (unlawful assembly and guilty of committing prosecution of common object), 294 (obscene act and songs), 395 (punishment for dacoity), 427 (loss to property due to mischief), 452 (hurtful trespass) and 506 (criminal intimidation).
While Odisha Health Minister Naba Das said he owned licensed firearms purely for the reason of the threat to his life, as mentioned in Arms Act, State Revenue Minister Sudam Marandi had also cited the same reason. He, however, added that the criminal charges slapped on him were related to his active participation in the agitations against the then State government (Incidentally, Naveen Patnaik had been the CM then and Marandi was state president of Jharkhand Mukti Morcha) for the causes of tribal rights and neglect of Mayurbhanj. Sudam Marandi had joined BJD in 2014.