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No headway yet in Orang poaching probe

By Correspondent

MANGALDAI, Jan 1 � The Mangaldai Wildlife Division of the State Forest Department, responsible for all activities in the Orang National Park (ONP), is yet make any headway in the incident of Tuesday midnight when poachers gunned down a forest guard, killed a full grown pregnant female rhino and took away its horn from near the Belsiri Forest Camp within the national park area.

Meanwhile, the Aranya Suraksha Samiti, a pioneer nature organisation of the State, has reportedly declared Sushil Sil (35), the Home Guard jawan who sacrificed his life, as the martyr. They also reportedly decided to condole the death of Sil on January 3.

Several other nature-related organisations, including Bon Aru Banyaprani Suraksha Samiti, Crystal Vision of Darrang have demanded compensation to family of the forest guard who was a resident of Hazang Basti, Silbori, near the park.

Mention may be made here that with this incident, a total of three staff of the park met with unnatural deaths within the last 40 days, while two tigers and two rhinos have been killed in the park.

Earlier, two tigers were killed on April 19 and December 7, while on December 10 the poachers killed a female rhino.

On the other hand, Lok Nath Khataniar, a jawan of the Assam Forest Protection Force (AFPF) engaged in the park, died in a boat accident on April 17 last, while a fixed pay labourer, Badan Boro met with a watery grave at Dhansiri River on November 27.

It may be mentioned here that the deceased along with another staff of the park were on night patrolling duty near Belsiri camp of the north-eastern part of the park under Borsola Police Station under Sonitpur district on that fateful night. On hearing gun shots, they lighted the searchlight when the gang of poachers opened fire on them, killing Sil on the spot, even before they could open fire. The poachers escaped with the rhino horn.

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