BY OUR STAFF REPORTER
GUWAHATI, April 11: Tucking a pistol in his waistband, Forest minister Atuwa Munda conducted an 'operation' against poachers along with forest officials and staff in Kaziranga tiol Park on Friday night.
Hours after poachers killed this year's eighth rhino in the park, Munda, also armed with a night vision device, entered the park at around 10 pm. Accompanied by media personnel, Munda patrolled the central range of the park for a few hours.
“We have been repeatedly warning them. But they have not budged. Now we will be firmer in our resolve to protect the rhinos. The poachers should get ready to die,” the Forest minister thundered during his ‘mission’.
However, his mission has not gone down well in some quarters who have questioned whether the minister had any right to wield a pistol in that fashion.
Though Munda did not achieve success during his ‘operation’, alert forest guards at Burapahar range encountered a group of poachers and shot dead two of them in the wee hours today.
The encounter took place at Sonok forest camp area of the park.
Forest officials said there were at least four poachers in the area and on seeing the forest guards they opened fire. The forest guards retaliated and killed two of them. The other two maged to flee.
The forest guards recovered a silencer fitted .303 rifle and some rounds of ammunition.