An NGO, which got three persons convicted in a record time of two-and-half years for killing tigress ‘Sita’, has suggested building a partnership between voluntary bodies and forest officials to combat the highly organised poaching network across the country.
“In a situation where most cases of tiger poaching are pending in courts and less than 10 convictions have been made so far, a quick decision in the case hints at the need for a strong network of NGOs and forest officials to fight the highly-organised poaching industry,” honorary secretary, Tiger Trust India, Anjana Gosain said. Sita, known for her friendliness with human beings and intelligence in posing for photographs for tourists, went missing at the age of 18 years in 1998 from Bandhavgarh National Park. Her photo had appeared on the cover of the National Geographic magazine in 1997, Gosain said.
Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate Umaria (MP), S B Verma in the verdict concluded on June 30, 2005 that the three accused Ram Millan, Raghvender Singh and Babu Lal were responsible for killing the tigress. He awarded two sentences of three years rigorous imprisonment and Rs 5,000 fineto each.
The punishment is subjected to extend to a further six months in case the fine is not paid, Gosain said.
“The decision assumes greater significance as it comes at a time when the country that is home to nearly three-fourths of the tiger population globally has only seen less than ten convictions even as thousands of tigers have disappeared from reserve forests and sanctuaries,” she said.