Odisha forester shot dead: Environment Minister vows strict action against poachers

Union Forest and Climate Change Minister said that "stringent action" will be ensured on the killing of a forest guard by poachers in Odisha.

Bhubaneswar: Union Forest and Climate Change Minister Bhupender Yadav on Saturday said that “stringent action” will be ensured on the killing of a forest guard by poachers in Odisha’s Similipal National Park.

Replying to a tweet from Union Education Minister Dharmendra Pradhan, Yadav said, “I am deeply saddened at the loss of our fallen warrior in the line of duty. We salute his sacrifice and extend our heartfelt condolences”.

The Ministry has already taken cognizance of the matter and a team of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is being sent to support the state machinery, he said.

He also said that the accused have been identified and one of them has been taken into custody. A country-made gun has also been seized.

Stringent action under the Wildlife Protection Act and the IPC will be ensured by the enforcing agencies, he assured.

In his tweet, Pradhan said that the killing of a forest official by poachers in the Similipal tiger reserve is a matter of great concern for every wildlife enthusiast and conservationist.

Losing determined officers like Mati Hansda who gave his all to protect wildlife is always disheartening, he said, noting that it was the second such incident in about a month’s time following the killing of forest guard Bimal Kumar Jena and “such brazenness” by poachers and anti-social elements is a worrisome trend. “Neither wildlife is safe in Odisha’s reserves nor the personnel protecting them.”

Pradhan urged Yadav and Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik to take stringent action on all fronts and ensure effective enforcement of the Wildlife Act to deter poachers and crack down on organized poaching rackets.

Odisha Forest and Environment Minister Pradip Amat said the DIG and IG concerned have been informed about the incident, and a proper investigation is going on.

“We have registered a murder case and detained three suspects. All those who are involved in the crime will be punished,” said Mayurbhanj SP, B. Gangadhar.

Hansda, aged about 45, was killed during an exchange of fire between the poachers and forest officials around 2 a.m. on Saturday.

Earlier, Jena, 35, was shot dead by a group of poachers at Similipal on May 22. Following this incident, a poacher was also killed by forest department officials on May 31.

(With inputs from IANS)

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