The killing of the magnificent blackbuck of India came into the public spotlight when Bollywood actor Salman Khan was caught shooting and killing one by the Bishnoi community in Rajasthan fourteen years ago. But this time, another key figure of India was caught allegedly doing the same crime: Anil Madhukar Naik, the nephew of Maharashtra minister of food and drugs and senior NCP leader Manohar Naik. The incident occurred on Tuesday when Naik and his five associates allegedly killed a blackbuck near the Jambharun jungle in Maharashtra's Washim district, some 350 kilometers from the city of Nagpur in the western Vidarbha region. Similarly in Salman Khan's case, the six offenders were caught by the local villagers when they took the carcass away in a red four-wheeler. After stopping them, the villagers informed a nearby police station from which police sub-inspector Pratapsinh Chavan arrived at the scene and took the offenders into custody. The carcass and the vehicle were also seized by the police. However, when the police came to know that Naik was one of the alleged offenders, they simply let them go free. According to reports, there was tremendous pressure on the police officials to keep the matter a secret. The news sparked a great deal of anguish amongst wildlife officials. One of them was state wildlife warden and principal chief conservator of forests (PCCF) SWH Naqvi, who has ordered an investigation into the matter and instructed others to check into it and guarantee that the guilty party should be arrested immediately. He further added that senior forest officials and veterinary officers arrived at the scene, and carried out a post-mortem for the carcass. In addition to that, he also stated that they are in talks with senior police officials to arrest the offenders immediately and punish the police officers who set them free.
I'm very much shocked and upset that these alleged offenders were allowed to walk free after what they had done. But what really troubled me about this news was the fact that the offenders were associated with the government of Maharashtra, and not some loose gang of poachers or a powerful criminal syndicate specializing in such evil and horrendous deeds. This article is a clear representation to why India must intensify its efforts to combat poaching and punish the people involved in this ongoing threat, regardless of what class they come from. Just because these people involved, who come from an upper class society, does not mean they should be allowed to go free without any charges pressed against them. They are still regular people like everybody else, and should be tried the same way as other people in India. I hope that this news would serve as a training for police departments everywhere in India when it comes to helping in the battle against poaching. That is, to never hesitate to take action in pressing charges against any would-be offender(s) caught poaching by witnesses.
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