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Helpless wildlife denied justice, culprits still at large
Due to failure on the part of administration, two poaching cases reported in a year
By Rinchen Angmo Chumikchan & Stanzin Dasal, Saturday, December 31, 2016


LEH:
 The unsolved poaching case of blue sheep in Gya-Meru Rong on Dec 11 has sparked another controversy with the suicide of a person on Dec 14.The case has seen no progress so far and the culprits are still roaming freely.

A case, FIR no. 93/16, under section 8/51 of Wildlife Act, has been registered at the police post, Kharu.

The case is being investigated by the Special Investigation Team (SIT) headed by DY SP Tashi Phuntsog.

The suicide of a 52-year- old person from Gya village has given a new twist to the case. He is believed to be the eye-witness to the poaching incident. Regarding this, the SSP said, “There is no evidence as of now to suggest that he was a witness to the poaching incident.” He added, “We have initiated inquest proceedings into this suspicious death”.
“The autopsy report confirms the death of the person was due to hanging”, informs S.I Otsal.

The incident has seen many mute spectators which make it more mysterious. Besides so many NGOs claiming to work for the wildlife, except WCBCL has no reaction on such incidents.  According to sources, a bus full of passengers had witnessed the incident but they have refused to cooperate.

SSP Udaya Bhaskar Billa said, “As soon as we got the information, we rushed to the place and conducted a search operation. But, unfortunately, we did not find anything other than the carcass.”

Jigmet Takpa, Chief Conservator of Forest and Wildlife, said, “I was the last one to get the information about the Gya-Meru poaching incident which clearly shows lack of professionalism.”

The incident took place on Dec11 and the post- mortem was done on Dec 13, and hence the approximate time of death could not be determined. When asked about the delay in post- mortem, the SSP said that due to holidays, we could not get the post-mortem done.”

The autopsy report has revealed that a bullet had pierced through the body of the blue sheep and it also confirmed the fracture of its ribs.

In this regard, a press conference was also organised on Dec.17 by the LBA in which they demand a thorough investigation. Giving an ultimatum, vice- president, LBA, P T Kunzang, said, “The culprit should be arrested soon and booked under the law, failing which we will be compelled to protest.”

On Dec 22, in a joint Press conference, DC Prassana Ramaswami G and the SSP Udaya Bhaskar Billa said that they strongly condemned such incidents.  “The wildlife of Ladakh is precious not because of animals but due to religious sentiments attached to it. Whosoever has committed this crime will not be spared.”

Under Section 8/51 of Wildlife Act- a person should be punishable with imprisonment for a term which may extend to three years and a fine which may be as much as ₹ 25000 but shall not be less than ₹ 10000.

Talking about the poaching cases in Ladakh, Jigmet Takpa said that most of the poaching incidents happened in winter in the month of Nov-Dec, the reason being less movement of people and vehicles and also due to lesser availability of meat. The hot spots for poaching incidents include Lamayuru, Wanla , Kanji, Dha Beema, Turtuk Bokdang, Kanji nala, Saspol Rong and Gya-Meru Rong.

So far, three poaching cases have been reported in Leh district. The first case has been reported from Raldong Nala near the Mahay bridge area in the year 2008. Two persons were identified and arrested with weapons and meat. Later, it was confirmed in the FSL report that it was the meat of blue sheep. The case was closed and a challan against the accused was issued to the court on Dec 1, 2009 and no report has been submitted to the department till now.

In the year 2016, two poaching cases were registered, one in the month of April when three people including two army personnel and one civilian were arrested in connection with the Ladakh Urial (Shapo) poaching case.  Police seized the weapons including a telescopic gun, ammunition in an army gypsy. The  police have registered case ,FIR no. 15/2016 on April 13 under section 8/51 Wildlife Protection Act and Section 7/27 of Indian Arms Act.

The third case reported is the recent Gya-Meru case. Two consecutive poaching cases in one year raise a big question mark and failure on the part of the administration. Such poaching cases are an example of how our system works even when the culprits are identified and arrested, no severe punishment were given, and they were bailed out.

Takpa said, “Ladakh has a vast geographical area covering 45,000 sq km with a diverse species of wildlife including the species of Central Asia Region and Indian sub- continent. The department has only 20 guards to monitor the vast area. One guard has to patrol and monitor 2,250 sq km which is inadequate.”

He said to prevent wildlife crime cases in future, local cooperation is very much needed to keep a strict vigil on the vast area. 

Registered Poaching case in Leh District: 
 

DATE

PLACE

ANIMAL

Case status

 FIR NO.  & SECTION

November 25, 2008

Raldong Nala

Blue sheep

Has issued challan to court

17/2008 under section 8/51, 26,29 31, 32 of Wildlife Protection Act and 7/25 of Indian Arms Act.

April 14, 2016

Nimmo

Ladakh Urial

Culprits are on bail

15/16 under section 8/51 wildlife protection act and section 7/27 of the Indian Arms Act.

December 11, 2016

Gya Meeru Rong

Blue sheep

Investigation in process

93/16 under section 8/51


On Dec 28, Reach Ladakh contacted police officials regarding the poaching case but no information was shared. So far, the case has not seen any progress. DY SP Tashi Phuntsog said, “We will inform you as we get any information in this case.” 

 
                   
 
Army Says-   Sunday, February 19, 2017
 army might have hang him since he was witness