Mrunal Manmay Dash

As many as 71 illegal firearms were seized from several police station areas in Similipal sanctuary under Mayurbhanj district in the second phase of raids on Tuesday.

In the first phase, 156 country-made guns were recovered. With this, the total number of firearms seized from the sanctuary went up to 227.

The firearms were seized in a joint search operation by the forest department and the local police.

As per the experts, the police action is a good sign for the wildlife in the sanctuary as poaching activities are expected to go down after the seizure of the guns.

The police action came after two forest department officials were killed by the poachers in Similipal a few months back. Three platoons of police force were deployed in the jungle to nab the poachers roaming scot-free and killing wild animals with impunity in the sanctuary.

The first phase of the raids was conducted in August this year and 156 illegal firearms were seized from poachers across the jungle. The police had arrested 26 poachers as well.

If reports are to be believed, poaching is rampant in Similipal. As per the experts, such raids should be carried out frequently to safeguard the wild animals.

It is worthwhile to mention here that such is the demand for firearms in the Similipal area, miscreants had established an illegal firearms manufacturing unit in the fringe area of the forest.

In July this year, Mahuldiha Police had busted an illegal gun manufacturing unit and arrested one person in this connection. One country-made gun, 4 steel barrels, and other articles were seized following a raid.