Himansu Shekhar Rout

In a shocking incident, forest officials came to know that country-made guns are available on rent for animal poaching in the fringe areas of Kuldiha sanctuary in Balasore. 

Such a startling fact came to the fore after the arrest of six persons along with the seizure of six country-made guns from their possession late Wednesday night in the area. After several raids, a total of 11 guns were seized and seven poachers were arrested.

As per reports, a big racket is making and supplying guns to poachers for wildlife hunting and ivory smuggling in the area. Following this development, the forest department and local police have started combing operations and raids in Kuldiha and surrounding areas. 

On the other hand, locals alleged that innocent people are blamed as poachers and then arrested. 

As per reports, acting on a tip-off, forest officials accompanied by local police conducted a joint raid on Malibania under Nilagiri police limits on Wednesday morning. They busted a gun-making unit, seized five country guns and arrested one person.

ACF Digant Sobhan Chand said, ”The person who was arrested was making, selling and renting out guns.”  

Following this, the team along with Similipal Tiger Protection Force intensified the raids in other areas including Deunchakhal village where six country-made guns were seized and six others were arrested last night. 

In fact, the forest department had come into action mode and started combing operations and raids two days ago after three forest officials were injured when poachers fired at the former.  

The forest department took the issue seriously. RCCF Prakash Chand Gogineni on Thursday started an investigation into the firing incident and visited the spot. He said that like the Similipal, a special team will be deployed in Kuldiha sanctuary.   

RCCF Gogineni said, ”Mainly, the field staff will be supplied with arms and ammunition to deal with poachers. We have provided arms and ammunition to the staff in Similipa. The same will be done for the staff of Kuldiha and other forest divisions in a month or two. Besides we have ordered bullet-proof helmets and jackets for the field staff.”

As for the firing incident, the RCCF said, ”We are investigating where the accused procured arms. Our staff were injured. We have eyewitnesses for the incident. Besides, a ballistic analysis of the bullets that were fired from their guns will be carried out.”

After the raid on Deunchakhal village, villagers trooped to the Nilagiri police station and alleged that two of the alleged poachers arrested by the raiding party are innocent.

Environmentalists alleged that a big racket is operating in the area by making use of innocent tribals.

Rama Singh, the wife of one of the arrested, alleged, ”Forest officials raised an alarm about the arrival of elephants at night. We were asleep. My husband woke up and ventured out. But forest officials dragged him away.”

Jyotsna Singh, wife of the arrested Sukra Singh, alleged, “My husband is innocent. When he came out of the house on hearing the alarm of elephants, he was dragged away.” 

Manasranjan Das, a local environmentalist, said, ”Tribals are innocent. They are being misled. Some influential people are luring them with money. They are provided guns at low cost to poach wild animals for meat. Tribals do not know what they are doing. Wildlife meat is supplied out of the sanctuary.

  • Reported by:
  • Biswambar Das