Stress on need for fast-track courts
Guwahati: Altogether 97 persons were convicted in 28 wildlife crime cases by fast-track courts in Assam in the last one-and-a-half years.
Assam conservator of forests (wildlife), D.D. Gogoi, said this during a seminar on Wildlife Crime and the Laws, organised by Aaranyak, a society for biodiversity conservation, and Gauhati High Court Bar Association, here on Saturday.
Altogether 10 fast-track courts were set up in the state in November 2016 to expedite the trial of wildlife crime cases and the number of such courts rose to 12 when two more were set up in February this year.
Gogoi said a fast-track court last year convicted 44 persons and sentenced them to three years imprisonment for encroaching the territory of Manas National Park.
He described it as a positive development because securing the forest area is important for curbing wildlife crimes.
Gogoi said the fast-track courts, since their inception, have convicted 53 poachers.
Justice Arup Kumar Goswami of Gauhati High Court, who was the chief guest, inaugurated the seminar while Justice Ujjal Bhuyan was the guest of honour.
Goswami said poaching is the greatest threat to wildlife and setting up of fast-track courts will help combat it.
Justice Bhuyan rued that exhibiting animal parts like rhino horns, skin of tiger or leopard in houses is still considered a sign of aristocracy by certain sections of the society.
Chief executive officer and secretary general of Aaranyak, Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, gave a presentation on Wildlife Crime and its Global Perspective while Rahul Dutta of International Rhino Foundation spoke on Illegal Wildlife Trade and Changing Trends of People's Perception on Wildlife.
President of the bar association K.K. Mahanta, vice-president Manas Sarania, secretary general Banashree Gogoi and senior advocates Gautam Uzir, Ajoy Kumar Das and Bimal Chetry among others, attended the seminar.