6 poachers held in joint raid 

Minister fails to visit remote rhino killing site for want of jumbo 

By RITUPALLAB SAIKIA in Golaghat
  • Published 11.06.16
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One of the arrested poachers and (right) the seized arms. 
Pictures by Ritupallab Saikia and Pranab Kumar Das

Golaghat, June 10: Six suspected poachers have been arrested with arms in the past three days from villages located on the periphery of Kaziranga National Park in Assam following intensified joint operations by police and the special task force constituted to curb poaching.

Four suspected poachers arrested from Golaghat district have been identified as Golap Talukdar, Ronoj Pegu, Bipul Bora and Bapai Orang. Four .303 rifles, 24 rounds of live cartridges, one silencer, two magazines and incriminating materials were seized from them. Two women were arrested from Nagaon district. Police said all six were apprehended based on tip-offs. 
Talukdar was arrested from his house in Geleki village this morning. Three .303 rifles were seized from him. After he was arrested, some irate villagers ransacked his house and warned him of dire consequences if he returned to the village, the police said. 

Pegu, Bora and Orang were arrested on Wednesday night. Pegu was arrested from Bogorijuri area and Bora from Difolupathar Xukan Gaon, both under Kohora police outpost. Orang was arrested from Kandhulimari village in Agaratoli range of the park. Pegu has previous history of rhino poaching while the other two used to work as his accomplices, the police said.

Two Karbi women were arrested last night from Kuthori Najan village, 10km from the main entrance to the park, for their alleged involvement in rhino poaching. Police recovered Rs 25.24 lakh from their house, which falls under Bagori police outpost.

When contacted, Golaghat additional superintendent of police Numal Mahatta said the operation against poachers was on and they hoped to arrest more criminals. On the allegation levelled against a section of forest guards of providing patronage to poachers, Mahatta said the matter would be taken up for investigation. 

Biswanath Chariali police have over the past month arrested 19 poachers from the district. A team constituted by superintendent of police Ankur Jain started the drive against poachers in Sootea and Jingia. Arms and ammunition, including a .303 rifle with ammunition and a modified silencer, were seized. 

Deputy superintendent of police Moushumi Kalita told The Telegraph that most of the poachers were arrested from Sootea and were involved in rhino poaching in the sixth addition to Kaziranga. 

Forest and environment minister Pramila Rani Brahma had today planned to visit the site in Agaratoli where a rhino was killed by poachers during her last visit on Tuesday. But the park officials failed to provide her an elephant ride to the remote area and she had to return to Kohora. On Tuesday, guards at Demow camp under Agaratoli had heard gunshots. The carcass of the rhino was found yesterday between Boralimora and Uttor Kathoni area of the range after a thorough search conducted by Kaziranga director M. Ali. 

Brahma today told reporters at Kohora: “I had informed them of my plan to visit the site where the rhino was killed. But they failed to make the arrangements.” She held a meeting with senior officials of the forest department and the police at Kohora. 

Kaziranga straddles Golaghat, Nagaon, Sonitpur and the newly constituted Biswanath Chariali districts.

With inputs from Pranab Kumar Das in Tezpur