Assam minister violates law, enters Kaziranga with firearm

Guwahati: Assam Forest Minister Atuwa Munda entered the Kaziranga National Park - a world heritage site famous for one-horned rhinos - with a firearm dangling from his waist, "violating" the wildlife act.Munda, accompanied by top
assam minister violates law enters kaziranga with...
IANS 11 Apr 2015, 08:52 PM IST

Guwahati: Assam Forest Minister Atuwa Munda entered the Kaziranga National Park - a world heritage site famous for one-horned rhinos - with a firearm dangling from his waist, "violating" the wildlife act.

Munda, accompanied by top forest officials, went to the park on Friday at around 10 p.m. and was surrounded by forest guards besides his personal bodyguards provided by Assam Police.

This action of the minister drew flak from conservationists and wildlife lovers.

Wildlife NGO Natures Beckon condemned the incident, saying the minister has not only failed to protect the rhinos but also failed to respect the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act.

"The minister's move to enter the park with a firearm is a kind of political gimmick to impress people and cover-up their (the government's) failures," said Soumyadeep Datta of Natures Beckon.

He said the act clearly stated that except forest officials and guards, no one can enter wildlife sanctuaries or national parks with a firearm.

The minister's sudden visit to the park came after poachers on Thursday night killed a female rhino at the Kohora range of the park and took away its horn.

Park director M.K. Yadav, however, said the minister did not violate the wildlife act by entering the park with a firearm. "I cannot comment on my superior. There is no violation of any act."

The forest minister could not be contacted for comment.

However, a section of park officials said the minister had violated guidelines under the act.

"We do not allow police force to enter the park with guns. Munda is a minister and not a forest official who should be allowed to enter the park with a gun," a park official said on the condition of anonymity.

 
 
 

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