By Rachna Singh
JAIPUR: State animal Chinkara, the state bird Great Indian Bustard and the national bird Peacock can all be offered over dinner in Rajasthan. While at the face of it only Salman Khan is known to be infamous for the banned royal sport, hunting of the endangered species carries on unabated in the state. And ironically little is being done by the forest officials and police to check it.
While Salman's trial for hunting and killing the endangered deer is still continuing since 1998, hunting or poaching is a very common practice in Rajasthan. On Sunday itself poaching of 5-7 chinkaras was reported in Gajner (FIR No. 15). On February 3, one chinkara was poached in Dungargarh, on January 29 a chinkara was poached in Nukha Thana, Bikaner and the case was registered with the forest department and on January 24 two deer were confiscated with their heads half slit in Chattergarh.
All the accused in these cases are absconding.
According to the data available with TOI, though not all crimes are brought to the notice of police, but few wildlife crimes are reported every year. There were 31 registered cases of hunting in 2008, in 2011 the police registered 22 cases and in 2014, 15 FIRs were registered just in the Bikaner district.
The record indicates there were poaching incidents of deer, blue bull, rabbit, fox, wild boar and chinkara, that is near extinction. All the FIRs mention the names of culprits with the status of the case as pending and sources confirm that culprits so far are all out on bail.
"We have been chasing the poaching incidents in Bikaner for several years now. In some cases we are hushed away, in others we are threatened by the police and poachers. For instance, in a particular case poaching of two chinkaras in Lunkaransar on January 1, 2013, the police for several days refused to visit the spot where the incident happened. Despite repeated requests the police has not arrested the accused Jeevraj Singh, nor have they confiscated his licensed gun and even the vehicle used in the crime has not been seized. Instead the poacher in front of the police threatened me and 30 villagers who had gone to the police station not to pursue the case," said Mokhram, president, Jeev Raksha Sansthan, Bikaner. Similar is the situation in the case of the Great Indian Bustard (GIB) poaching, wherein on one hand the government is preparing a road map for their conservation and simultaneously not doing anything to book the poachers. "In most cases, forest authorities have a lackadaisical approach and lack legal expertise to book the poachers at the earliest. The poachers of GIB in the Desert National Park falling within the Khudi Police Station in Jaisalmer district were out on bail in a jiffy," said Harshvardhan Singh, honorary secretary, Tourism & Wildlife Society of India.