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ULFA hawks want to protect Kaziranga rhino

ULFA hawks want to protect Kaziranga rhino
Conditional help: The anti-talks faction says responsibility of park’s protection must be handed over to fringe villagers first
Bijay Sankar Bora/TNS

 The Tribune, Guwahati, May 26

The banned United Liberation Front of Assam (Independent) or the anti-talks faction today stated that it was game to play key role in protection of precious one-horned rhinos at Kaziranga National Park (KNP) provided the responsibility of park’s protection was handed over to fringe villagers replacing the forest guards who have failed miserably to protect the rhino under threat.

The ULFA faction decried the failure of the incumbent Assam government to prevent killing of precious one-horned rhinoceros at Kaziranga despite deployment of sophisticated weapons and enhanced deployment of forces.

In an e-mailed statement to the media here, the ULFA faction said while the lives of people of Assam was not secure ‘under the colonial occupation of India’, the lives of precious wildlife resources in the state could hardly be safe.

“In such a situation, the people of Assam have no other option but to press for withdrawal of all government forces engaged for protection of Kaziranga Park resources and entrust the responsibility to the people living in villages in the fringe area around the national park. In such a case, ULFA will solidly cooperate with the people not only in keeping poachers at bay but also rooting out poachers for good,” the ULFA statement said.

The outfit claimed that it had already identified the routes taken by rhino poachers to enter the Kaziranga park and apprised the people of Assam about it. “However, these routes have still remained unguarded and that raises suspicion about involvement of a section of senior forest official and staff behind unabated rhino poaching at the park,” the ULFA faction stated.

“Though the authorities concerned occasionally arrest one or two rhino poachers, the poaching has not stopped at all as the real poachers are continuing with poaching unhindered under the patronage of some unidentified powerful quarters,” the outfit stated.

Meanwhile, with recovery of carcass of two more rhinos sans the horn from Kaziranga National Park on Friday the number of rhinos poached inside the Park so far this year rose to 14. Carcass of one rhino was located at Kanchanjuri under Bagori Range of the Park while the other was recovered from Agartoli Range.

The unabated rhino poaching at the Kaziranga belying the claims of the government to have augmented security measures in the Park has triggered continuing protests by many social, political, NGOs and green brigades in the state.