Days after Malegaon additional collector Yashwant Sonawane’s murder,the state government is toying with the idea of providing firearms to revenue officails. Sources said a proposal to arm revenue officials was likely to be submitted in the Cabinet meeting on February 2 for approval.
The state governments move comes after a confidential meeting of officials from various departments (like revenue,police,food and civil supplies,and food and drugs administration) held at Nashik on Wednesday. At the meeting,the officials had demanded that firearms be provided to revenue officials to defend themselves when confronted by criminal elements while discharging their duties.
Among other things,officials had also sought amendment to laws of externment (seeking to send a criminal to judicial custody for the entire externment period in case he was seen in the area from which he was banished); and increasing punishment from two years to five years for assault on public servants. Senior NCP leader and Guardian Minister of Nashik district Chhagan Bhujbal had assured the officials that he would take up the matter with the state government.
It is learnt that the government may provide weapons to senior revenue officials. The proposal is subject to the approval of the Cabinet,and Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar is said to be in favour of arming officials.