No one convicted for rhino poaching in Assam in five years

” Nine rhinos have been poached in Assam since January this year, of which eight were killed in Kaziranga alone.”
Guwahati, March 31(IANS):  Although hundreds of rhinos have been poached in various areas of Assam, including the high-security Kaziranga National Park, no one has been convicted so far for poaching in the last five years.

Statistics of the Assam government – which were accessed by an RTI activist – revealed that 247 people have been arrested since 2009 till 2014 for their involvement in rhino poaching in four districts of Assam – Karbi Anglong, Golaghat, Sonitpur and Nagaon. But none of them have been convicted by a court so far.

RTI activist Rohit Choudhury shared the statistics with the media on Tuesday.

Eighteen poachers were arrested in the four districts in 2009, two in 2010, 19 in 2011, 115 in 2012 and 60 in 2013, he said.

While 52 cases of rhino poaching have been registered in Kaziranga alone since 2009, 18 cases have been registered in Sonitpur district during the period.

Karbi Anglong, which borders the national park, registered 15 cases of poaching during the period, while Golaghat and Nagaon districts saw 29 and 35 cases, respectively.

Of the total number of people arrested, the highest (84) was from Karbi Anglong.

The activist said there should be proper training on the Wildlife Protection Act for the officer in-charge of the police stations of these four districts surrounding the Kaziranga park and well as near other wildlife sanctuaries.

Under the guidance of Gauhati High Court, there should be joint consultation of the judiciary, police and forest department to prepare a mechanism for fast disposal of cases related to wildlife crimes, he said.

Nine rhinos have been poached in Assam since January this year, of which eight were killed in Kaziranga alone.

AK-series rifles, INSAS and SLR guns, Japan-made 7.65 mm pistols have been seized from the poachers arrested during the period.

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