BENGALURU: In the aftermath of killing of a poacher in Sangam Range, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary when a gang of poachers were caught on Thursday with the carcasses of two wildlife species, the ensuing violence and attack on state forest property and its officials has been immense.
According to forest officials, one anti-poaching camp at Makalanda and a forest check post at Bendugodu were set on fire by rampaging mobs while the range office too was damaged. The mob seized weapons from the check post and damaged a solar fence and walkie-talkies equipment.
Another mob which torched an anti poaching camp after dousing with petrol at Makalanda, did it even as a watcher was inside. Fortunately, the youngster managed to escape but sustained burns in his legs.
Further, a few field staff were attacked by a group of people from surrounding villages from where the poachers hailed. Both the forester and watcher were attacked by the mob in front of the police at Vatehunsemara sector where the poacher was killed.
One group was led by a zilla panchayat member who instigated the people as well as helped the police to calm them.
Officials added that the front line staff involved in protection and conservation duties were totally demoralised as neither there was no support from district authorities nor from police when agitating people came to attack forest property and staff.
Guru (25), the poacher from Doddallahalli who was killed was a habitual offender and had been involved in many incidents of poaching.
Meanwhile, wildlife experts Led by Dr Ullas Karanth, P M Muthanna and others, they collectively said the government should take stringent action against anti-social elements.
Police have filed four FIRs in connection with the death of 24-year-old Guru, an alleged poacher. The first FIR has been filed against Ravi, Deputy Range Forest Officer and others. Three other cases are against the villagers, who attacked both Forest Department officials and the police.
A case for pelting stones on police personnel, second on the assault by villagers on Forest officials and a third FIR related to damages to government property have been filed. But sources from the Forest Department said that the FIR filed against the DyRFO was wrong. “We are yet to ascertain the source of the bullet that killed Guru. Moreover, a government order issued in 1990-91 allows forest personnel to fire in self-defence,” the source said.