Assam Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal has directed all deputy commissioners and superintendents of police to take all possible measures to protect the rhinos of the State. He has obviously noticed that the poachers the Kaziranga tiol Park are hellbent on challenging the authority of the government and on continuing to kill the one-horned rhinos for the huge prices that their horns fetch abroad, especially in south-east Asian countries. This veiled affront to the government has become all too evident from the fact that two rhinos were killed by poachers after the new State government had taken over and virtually in the presence of Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma. There is yet another reason for Chief Minister Sonowal’s latest directive to deputy commissioners and superintendents of police. During the Tarun Gogoi regime and especially during Rockybul Hussain’s tenure as the former Forest Minister, a clear nexus had been established between some politicians and some of the crimils poaching and shooting animals in the Kaziranga Game Sanctuary. Recently, there has even been an allegation that must be extremely embarrassing for the State’s Home Department: that a senior police officer of Majuli was also among the killers of rhinos! And what must be disconcerting to the Chief Minister is that there has been no denial of this allegation so far from the Home Department. Recently the Chief Minister had said that rhino killers would have to face very stringent punishment. The general experience has been that poachers and rhino killers mage to secure bail quite easily. This is the kind of administrative scerio that hints at yet another nexus between government officials and rhino killers. The Chief Minister must do everything in his power to bring rhino killing in Assam to an end without worrying about where the chips fall.
Protecting our Rhinos