BENGALURU: Completely demoralised by incidents of violence, personal attacks, politicisation and police cases in the aftermath of the Sangam poaching incident, the front line forest staff in the ranges of Sangam, Halgur and others in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, have appealed to the Chief Wildlife Warden to transfer them.
Forest staff, including deputy range forest officers, foresters, guards and watchers, who bore the brunt of people’s wrath after the death of a poacher on Thursday morning, have cited hostile and difficult working conditions.
In a letter to the Chief Wildlife Warden, the copy of which were marked to the governor, about 10 front line staff working in Sangam and Halgur ranges say that in the aftermath of the death of a poacher, people took law into their own hands and attacked the field staff and even destroyed forest property with support from politicians.
They said that villagers attacked the forest staff in front of Sathnur police inspector. Three officials were seriously injured in this attack. The Bendagodu check post, Ulla, Makalanda and Nayakanahalli anti-poaching camps were burnt down by the villagers and despite complaints lodged by senior officials, police did not take any action to stop the people.
In the event of politicising a straight case of poaching and two groups of poachers firing on forest staff which led to the death of a poacher, Sathnur police failed to give protection to government officials on duty. “How can we work in such a situation?” they asked the CWW.
They added, “We are daily working under tremendous pressure, booking cases on hunting, tree smuggling, fishing, in all enclosure village limits and so, there are frequent attacks on staff in every case.
“In such a situation, we are working and striving to control man-animal conflicts in these areas under the guidance of senior officers with honesty. However, politicians and local leaders encourage villagers to attack forest staff and police too side with the villagers. Our life is under constant threat.”
The poacher’s death ?
On March 16, in Sangam Range of Chilandavadi Reserve , two groups of hunters were found hunting who started firing on forest staff. The staff also fired in self protection.
The poachers were found with the bodies of spotted deer and porcupine but the poachers’ team escaped from the spot.
The next morning, the staff found the body of a poacher along with a single barrel gun. In the meantime, villagers rushed to the incident spot and seeing the body started attacking the forest staff.