Guwahati, Feb. 11: Clueless about the poacher gangs that have been striking in Kaziranga at frequent intervals since last year, Assam police have requisitioned the services of an identification expert from Calcutta to draw portraits of suspected poachers.
Debasish Banerjee, who has helped the police solve several crime mysteries, is back in the state and camping at Kaziranga National Park to gather information and draw sketches of suspected poachers.
I have spoken to residents of villages in and around Kaziranga and drawn several sketches already. I am satisfied with two of them and have handed these two portraits to the police, Banerjee said today.
This is the first known instance of an artists help being sought to identify poachers.
Golaghat superintendent of police Pradip Saloi said Banerjee was visiting the police headquarters in Guwahati to handle another case when officials asked for his help to identify rhino poachers. Since he has helped us on several occasions, why not take his help to nail down a few poachers too? the SP asked.
The subdivisional police officer of Bokakhat, Nabin Singh, said the two portraits sketched by Banerjee were of persons with tribal looks. The duo are either from Nagaland or Manipur, he said.
Singh said people residing near the national park were providing information to the poachers about where rhinos could be easily found. The villagers are not directly involved in poaching. They only provide information in exchange for money.
Most of the local poachers have either been arrested or have surrendered.
Kohora police last night arrested a man identified as Nagaina Majhi of Majline, near Hathikuli tea estate, for helping poachers.
Forest guards at Kaziranga picked up two more men — Manna Akthar Ahmed and Md. Munir Khan — for their alleged involvement in the killing of a rhino and its calf near Methoni tea estate some weeks ago.
Manna, alias Raj, is a resident of Methoni and Muni owns a shop near Borjuri.
On Friday night, a team of forest guards narrowly escaped death when a Mahindra jeep carrying suspected poachers rammed into their Gypsy. The Gypsy burst into flames on impact.