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Poachers sentenced to two years� RI

By Correspondent

MANGALDAI, July 23 - In a historical verdict in the conservation of wildlife and nature passed on July 21 in Darrang, the District & Sessions Judge Gautam Baruah has awarded rigorous imprisonment for two years with a fine of Rs 25,000 each and in default rigorous imprisonment for another period of three months to two notorious poachers. This judgment has been termed an exemplary one at a time when organised gangs of armed poachers have caused serious threat to the existence of one-horned rhinos.

Significantly, in the judgment, the installation of the latest technology of camera trapping, meant for tiger census played an important role. The convicted poachers are Dharmeswar Basumatary of Borigaon village and Haren Daimary of Natun Panbari under Dhekiajuli Police Station in Sonitpur district.

According to the case records, a premier NGO working in the field of wildlife and nature had on December 29, 2010 installed sophisticated cameras at 31 critical spots inside the Orang National Park (ONP) for conducting tiger census through the process of camera trapping of which one was installed in the Half forest camp area. During the periodic check-up of the camera on January 9, 2011, it was detected that two persons with firearms were moving in that camp area at about 1.31 am and 1.32 am on January 5. The then Range Officer of ONP, Selimuddin Ahmed immediately took the necessary initiative to print large banners with the photographs of both the poachers and had those circulated in various places of Darrang, Udalguri and Sonitpur district declaring a reward of Rs. 25,000 against any information or capturing of the two. Unable to bear the strong pressure, both of them on February 3, 2011 surrendered at the Dhekiajuli Police Station along with two .303 rifles and five rounds of live ammunition.

Accordingly the Park authority took the custody of both the poachers and the Range Officer Selimuddin Ahmed on July 18 of the same year filed a chargesheet before the court. Sessions Judge Gautam Baruah finally passed the conviction order under Section 31 of the Assam Wildlife Protection Act read with Section 51 (1) of the same Act.

Advocate Jayanta Deka appeared for the prosecution without taking any professional fees while advocates BMH Rahman, R Islam and A Ahmed defended the convicted poachers.

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