BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, Sept 1: A citizens’ meet here on Thursday demanded disbanding of the Rhino Horns Verification Committee of the State.
State government recently formed the committee for verification of rhino horns of the state.
The meet organized by ture’s Beckon and the Jourlists’ Forum, Assam (JFA) at Guwahati press club also demanded the authorities to make public the total number of horns from the rhinos turally dead and those recovered after being killed by the poachers.
“But this number too must be arrived at after putting each and every horn to forensic tests,” said an organizer of the meet.
The meet presided over by JFA chief Rupam Baruah, was attended by leading intellectuals, jourlists and ture-lovers.
The meeting strongly advocated a CBI inquiry into all the murky incidents of killing and poaching of the animal and trading of its horns.
“The CBI probe should also include the dubious role being played by the Rhino Horns Verification Committee,” the citizens said.
Voicing his concern, renowned litterateur and jourlist, Homen Borgohain said the Rhino Horns Verification Committee appears to be in a mission to bestow legal sanction on the irregularities so far indulged in by the captains of illegal rhino trade. This committee has no moral right to exist, he added.
Mril Saikia, the ruling party MLA from Khumtai, said numerous incidents of killing and poaching of rhinos had taken place during Mohan Chandra Malakar’s tenure as the principal chief conservator of forests, wildlife.
“This clearly creates a conflict of interests when he took over as chairman of the verification committee,” he said adding that neither he should have been made its chairman nor should he have accepted the post.
Soumyadeep Dutta, director, ture’s Beckon, in his speech, asked how come the Sate Forest department boasted of selling rhino horns till 1979 as the Indian Wildlife Protection Act had already been ected in 1972, which banned sale and purchase of animals and their meat.
“It means the department openly declared its complicity in an illegal act,” Dutta pointed out.
Anuradha Sharma Pujari, Editor, Sadin, said the verification committee has lost all its credibility in its short span of existence.
Asom Bani Editor, Dilip Chandan sought the immediate intervention of Chief Minister Sarbanda Sonowal in the issue.
Ranen Kumar Goswami, senior jourlist, also a JFA member, criticized a section of jourlists for their audacity in behaving as self-styled spokespersons of the media.
“These jourlists, involved neck-deep in the committee, have done all they could to suppress transparency instead of promoting it,” he said.
“By killing transparency and preventing what happened behind the iron curtain from being dissemited, these jourlists appear to have surrendered their professiol ethics to the willful wrong-doers in illegal forest trade,” he further said.
Earlier, JFA secretary va Thakuria in his welcome speech said the recent recovery of five fake rhino horns has proved beyond doubt the unholy alliance between corrupt officials and perpetrators of crimil acts.