22 Aug 2016 - 1:13pm | AT News
Shri Sarbananda Sonowal
Honourable Chief Minister of Assam
Subject: Rhino Horn Verification Process
We, on behalf of Nature’s Beckon and Journalists’ Forum Assam, would like to appreciate you for various new initiatives taken by Assam government under your strong leadership to protect the wildlife in general and conserve the one-horned rhinoceros in particular. We also express happiness that the process of rhino horn verification is undergoing to identify the fake horns under the custody of State forest department and various treasuries in Assam. As the one-horned rhinoceros is not merely an environmental issue for the people of Assam, we want to draw your attention towards the recent declaration of Rhino Horn Verification Committee instituted by the State government and urge your good office for necessary actions. Years back, we took the initiative to inform the conscious people of the State about the missing of rhino horns from the custody of forest department. We still suspect that a section of forest officials are still involved in the illegal trade of rhino horns. Few days back, the Rhino Horn Verification Committee declared that it would not reveal the number of rhino horns kept in the custody of Assam government since 1980, which we strongly oppose and demand to disclose the statistics.
Secondly, the committee opined that only the suspected horns would be sent for forensic examinations, but we argue for sending each and every rhino horn for forensic test authentications.
Thirdly, the people of Assam deserve to know the number of rhino horns kept in the custody of the forest department and treasuries of Assam prior to 1980. Understanding the complication of the process, we also propose for the presence of an Executive Magistrate in the entire course of verification of the rhino horns and few locals, who have been raising voices for decades against the relentless rhino poaching incidents primarily in Kaziranga National Park.
Need not to mention that the said committee includes few forest officials, during whose tenures the conservation activists alleged of frequent poaching of rhinos in various forest reserves. Hence the people of Assam may find it too difficult to accept the report of the present committee.
So we reiterate our old demand for a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe into the matter and settle it for good. We hope you would be kind enough to consider all these aspects and take necessary actions for the benefit of Assam’s precious wildlife.
Thanking you in anticipation, With regards,
Soumyadeep Dutta, Director, Nature’s Beckon
Nava Thakuria, Secretary, Journalists’ Forum Assam