Monday, October 4, 2010

India's Poacher Kingpin Faces the Power of the Supreme Court

Sansar Chand

The Sariska National Park in India's Rajasthan state is now slowly and slowly recovering after a few tigers were successfully released some months ago, in order to help reboost the population. But before that, a massive onslaught of wild tigers had plagued the national park four years ago. At that time, in 2005, a report issued by forest officials revealed that there were virtually no tigers left in the national park. It had been found that illegal poaching had played the role in the dramatic drop to the tiger population, and one key figure behind this ruthless massacre was a sadistic cutthroat named Sansar Chand. Sansar Chand has been regarded as a "kingpin" when it came to poaching, and for a good reason. His whole life has been that of a poacher. He had his first brush with the law in 1974 for possession of tiger skins when he was just sixteen years old. From then on, he made a full-time career in illegally poaching India's wildlife. At the same time, he had been arrested several times but was always granted bail which provided him further opportunity to continue his illicit activities. In addition, his loved ones had also been involved in poaching activities which included his wife, son, and nephew making this a family business. In April 2004, Chand was arrested and sentenced to five years in prison by a court in Ajmer, Rajasthan. However, he jumped bail the next month after which he made his move on Sariska's tiger population. He was again arrested, and in 2006, confessed in selling 470 tiger skins and 130 leopard skins to clients in Nepal and Tibet. He is now currently undergoing another five-year jail term.

Recently, the Supreme Court of India condemned Chand for his heinous crimes. According to the court bench consisting of Justice Markandey Katju and Justice T.S Thakur, the population of the nation's tigers and leopards were fluctuating because Chand is trading their skins to buyers in and across India's borders. The court even stated that because of Chand's appetite for money, he would later move on to selling human skins. This, in my opinion, goes to show how the Supreme Court views this notorious hardcore criminal's actions. In addition to that, the court even strongly rejected the argument of Chand's lawyer Siddhartha Luthra which stated that the poacher was not involved in poaching. In his statement, Luthra argued that if his client was involved in poaching activities then how was it possible that they are still erupting after Chand's arrest. The court was unimpressed by the lawyer's plea, stating that Chand and everybody else who represent him have a lust for money and everything in India is commercial to them. I'm glad to see that the Supreme Court of India is viewing poachers, including Sansar Chand, as criminals who would do anything to exploit their nation's land of resources especially its wildlife. And I sure hope that maybe next time Chand gets out of prison, he will find it difficult to continue his criminal activities.

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