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Children injured at Kaziranga

Jorhat, Jan. 5: Two children were injured when a Maruti Gypsy belonging to the Jeep Safari Association of Kaziranga National Park met with an accident inside the park, while members of Elephant Safari Association allegedly assaulted a tourist from Rajasthan at the world heritage site in the past 12 hours.

P. Baruah, the assistant conservator of forests (Bagori range) of Kaziranga, said two children — below eight years — were injured when the jeep in which they were travelling along with their parents met with an accident at the Bagori range last evening. The family hails from Mizoram.

He said the incident occurred because the driver, who was drunk, drove the vehicle off the road and it overturned.

“An investigation revealed that the driver of the vehicle, Arun Patra, was drunk. We have registered a case,” he said.

The two children were hospitalised at Nagaon and they are said to be stable.

In the other incident this morning, members of the Elephant Safari Association at the Bagori range allegedly assaulted Abhayraj Jain, a teacher from Udaipur in Rajasthan.

Jain has lodged a complaint with the national park authorities and they have forwarded the case to the police. “It’s a police case and we have referred it to the Bagori police outpost, under Jakhalabandha police station,” Baruah said. According to the complaint lodged by Jain, who is a teacher at Curious Kids School at Udaipur, the school authorities had booked 24 seats for an elephant safari with the association a fortnight ago. The team, including children and teachers, arrived at Kaziranga yesterday.

When the team went for an elephant ride at the range today, they were offered only 15 seats on four elephants. The complaint said 22 members of the team had to be packed into 15 seats and two, including Jain, were left behind.

When the teacher lodged a complaint with the safari association, he was allegedly assaulted by a few members, including Punen Gogoi, the president of the association.

Gogoi, however, said the team had booked only 15 seats and not 24 as alleged.

“We assured the two members who were left behind that they would be taken for a ride later on. Jain started shouting and threatened to sue us. We never assaulted him but it was he who was shouting and creating a scene,” Gogoi said.

He added that the association has also lodged a complaint with the police.