Rakesh Hembrom performs a puja before announcing the Sendra date in Gadra on Friday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
Jamshedpur, April 26: Dalma Buru Sendra Samity late last night announced that Sendra or Bishu Shikar would be observed on May 12, a move that has put the forest range office in a fix and created confusion among tribals.
With Dalma Buru Sendra Dishua Samity, a parallel tribal outfit, already declaring May 19 as the date for the hunting ritual, the clash between two organisations has raised concerns about safety of animals in the reserve.
Dalma Buru Sendra Samity chief priest Rakesh Hembrom announced the Sendra date at Gadra, some 25km from Jamshedpur, after a meeting with heads of 12 villages.
“We will celebrate Sendra on May 12. The samity has already sent invitations to tribals living in Jharkhand, Bengal and Odisha,” he told The Telegraph.
Dalma range officer Mangal Kashyap and some other foresters also attended the meeting that started around 6.30pm and stretched till 10pm yesterday.
Dishua Samity general secretary Fakir Chandra Hembrom, on the other hand, maintained that they would observe the annual shikar a week later. “We have already declared our date, May 19. We cannot change it. We’ll go ahead as scheduled,” he added.
The twin dates effectively mean that the forest department will have to deploy adequate manpower in Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary where tribals under both outfits will assemble separately for the hunting ritual.
Dalma range officer Kashyap admitted that separate dates would create logistics problems.
“It’s a tricky situation for us. I’ll speak to the Dalma Buru Sendra Dishua Samity to agree to the date announced by Dalma Buru Sendra Samity,” he told The Telegraph.
He added that the forest department accepted the date declared by Dalma Buru Sendra Samity, which had been following the Sendra here for centuries.
The forest department has made elaborate plan to ensure safety of animals as well as minimise bloodshed during the hunting.
“But manning the sanctuary would be difficult if both outfits stick to their announcements,” said a forest official.
Top forest officials will visit the sanctuary a day before the Sendra to take stock of security arrangements.
Nearly 1,000 personnel, including divisional forest officers and range officers, will patrol the reserve. Village youths, members of eco-development committee and NGOs will assist the forest department in ensuring bloodless shikar. Besides, over 300 four-wheelers will pressed into service for patrolling the 192 sqkm elephant sanctuary. Apart from this, a 30-member team from Bankura of Bengal will also come to avoid animal hunting.