Thursday, December 22, 2011

Blackbuck Poached by Indian Army Soldiers in Bikaner

A blackbuck

A few weeks ago, it was found that a team of five soldiers in the Indian Army had allegedly poached three chinkaras (Indian gazelles) in Rajasthan's Barmer district. But this time, the Army is once again under the heat as three soldiers had allegedly poached a blackbuck at the Mahajan Field Firing Range in Bikaner on Monday night. Once a team of forest officials led by the district forest officer (DFO) reached the spot where the had incident occurred, the perpetrators had washed the blood stains off a Maruti Gypsy used in the activity. The team, however, was able to recover cooked meat, fur, and collected blood samples for the forensic laboratory. The forest department has filed a case under the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 against the soldiers, known as jawans, who are yet to be identified. DFO Arun Saxena stated that the men were part of the Army's 270 unit's 23rd mechanized unit, who entered the firing range via a Maruti Gypsy at 1:00 A.M and poached a blackbuck. When the forest department officials reached the camp upon receiving information, they had to wait a long time during which the suspects tried to remove the cooked meat and wash the vehicle. However, the team was able to get hold of evidence consisting of a few strands of blackbuck hair, cooked meat inside a deep freezer, and blood samples. The matter is in court, in which the Army has began a court of inquiry while the forest department has taken the court's shelter for calling the jawans for inquiry. According to Colonel S.D Goswami, spokesperson for the defense, the matter is being investigated and severe action will be taken against those found guilty of the crime.

I'm deeply appalled by this incident and the one from few weeks ago involving our nation's army officials. But I also think that both of these news highlight the fact that even the individuals the public regards as heroes can cross the line into committing evil deeds. In this case, it involves soldiers in the Indian Army. What really surprised me is that the incident took place near a village, which not only resulted in the death of the animal but also disturbed the peace. In addition to that, the villagers living near such locations have been complaining about the hunting of wildlife near their villages. I think this could indicate that the people belong to the Bishnoi community. For generations, they have been noted for their strong love towards nature and would do anything to protect the wildlife that roams freely near their villages. This was especially seen in the case of Salman Khan when he was caught poaching while on location for one of his films. I sure hope that the Indian Army will learn from these separate incidents, and will enforce stricter rules towards the soldiers when they are out camping somewhere in the wilderness of India. They are the heroes of this nation, and their sole purpose is to serve it; not exploit it.

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