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NGO demands fast trial of rhino poaching cases

Posted on Mar 14 2014 | IANS

Guwahati, March 14 : A wildlife and biodiversity conservation organisation has appealed to the government to bring the rhino poaching cases in Assam under fast track courts and settle them within a year.

The organisation, Aaranyak, has also requested the government to put more emphasis on nabbing the poachers and the trading kingpins and to put them behind the bars through conviction using the existing laws.

A total of 70 rhinos were killed in Assam in the last two years, including 21 in 2012, 41 in 2013 and eight in 2014. Most of them were killed in Kaziranga National Park, a world heritage site declared by the UNESCO.

"If the government brings the rhino poaching cases under fast track courts, the conviction will be done within one year and this might lead to reduction in poaching of the species. The government must also convict the poachers using the existing laws," said Bibhab Talukder, general secretary of the Aaranyak.

"Analysis of researchers working on wildlife trade indicate that the international gang of rhino poachers, who are mostly operating in South Africa at present may be allured to spread their area of operation to Assam soon, being encouraged by the present situation," he said.

He added that the rhinos would vanish from the state if the protection and legal measures remain weak.

Talukder also said the government should provide combat training to forest staffs and range officers to build their mental and physical capabilities so that they can face the poachers, who are armed with sophisticated weapons.

"We also urge upon the government and the members of the legislative assembly to put rhino protection high on the agenda and ensure safeguard to remaining rhinos to the best of our capabilities," he said.

The organisation also appealed the Lok Sabha election candidates from Assam to make their stands clear on wildlife and forest conservation.

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