Katni tribals held for killing Gir lions

The Pioneer , Monday, April 09, 2007
Correspondent : Rahul Noronha
Forced out of Madhya Pradesh after joint operations by the police and State forest department turned the heat on them, members of the Pardhi community targeted lions in Gir.

On Saturday, the Gujarat police arrested a 17-member gang hailing from Katni district in MP and seized trapping equipment from them.

The sudden spurt in lion poaching incidents in Gir is said to have been a direct consequence of the migration of nomadic tribes from MP to Gujarat.

Forest department sources in Madhya Pradesh said that it has now become a regular phenomenon among nomadic communities engaged in poaching to move out of a particular area after law enforcement agencies become strict.

In 2005, in the aftermath of the Sariska tiger crisis and the arrest of notorious poacher Sansarchand, the State police arrested members of the Pardhi community in Panna district.

After the arrests, many members of the tribe fled to neighbouring States in order to avoid further action by the police. Earlier too, the Pardhis were said to have fled from Rajasthan after law enforcement agencies, particularly the CBI, that were entrusted the task of solving the Sariska poaching cases began arresting members of the clan in Rajasthan.

Forest department officials in MP suggest that what is required is a regular monitoring of the movement of communities notorious for poaching. A more effective intelligence sharing network between States would also help. PCCF (Wildlife) PB Gangopadhyay said that there has been intelligence sharing between MP and Gujarat and Maharashtra at a personal level. He added that the National Wildlife Crime Bureau would probably monitor the movements of nomadic tribes. He however said that tracking the movements of the tribes would be an uphill task as the tribes have been known to travel great distances to avoid detection by law enforcement agencies.

" Members of the Pardhi community from Katni were found as far as Orissa and Kerala too," said Gangopadhyay.

SOURCE : The Pioneer, Monday, April 09, 2007

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