Jaipur: Serious questions are being raised about the safety of tigers at the Ranthambore Tiger Reserve in Sawai Madhopur district of Rajasthan as a picture of poachers carrying off a hunted chital deer came forth. The poachers with guns in their hands were carrying the deer, with its head severed off, on a stake. FIR was registered against 5 named persons on basis of the picture that was from the Khandar range of Ranthambore.
The forest department saw the picture nine days after it was captured on the photo trap camera while the chip was routinely being scanned. While the forest department tried to hush up the issue the picture got leaked and an FIR had to consequently be registered.
The situation assumed more serious consequences when hundreds of villagers stoned the police and forest team that tried to arrest the poachers identified from the picture. The team had to fire in the air to get away to safety. 2 poachers subsequently surrendered before police while search is on for the others.
Five people from nearby Jaitpura village were identified based on the picture and a team of forest and police officials tried to arrest them on Thursday. The villagers attacked the team and pelted stones at them to save the poachers. Six foresters were injured in the stone pelting. Police fired in the air to ward off the villagers and save themselves. Around a dozen villagers were injured too. A second FIR was against 28 named and around 400 unnamed man and women has been registered.
“The issue has been going on for a few days. We have been trying to arrest persons from last several days. Police fired in the air to ensure the safety of the team that was caught in the middle of severe stone pelting,” said Manoj Parashar, CCF, Ranthambore.
Two poachers — Asrar s/o Nisar and Sunaif alias Kalu s/o Kadir late in the evening and a gun seized. Police were deployed to look for the remaining three absconding poachers.
The entire episode has again raised serious concerns about the safety of tigers in reserve.