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Assam nationalists' forum asks for transparency  in rhino horn disposal

NJ Thakuria

NJ ThakuriaSep 19, 2021, 02:31 PM IST

Assam nationalists' forum asks for transparency  in rhino horn disposal

Guwahati: Supporting the initiative to dispose of wildlife parts including the rhinoceros-horns, kept in various Assam treasuries for decades, a forum of nationalist citizens in northeast Bharat asks for transparency in the process. Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) also urged State chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to ensure that only genuine horns are burnt in presence of distinguished personalities to evade any unwanted controversies.

It may be mentioned that the State cabinet lately resolved to destroy 2,479 rhino horns (out of 2,623 horns stored in various treasuries) in full public view. The State forest department has already conducted the verification process to identify probable fake horns among the real ones in 12 treasuries across Assam as allegations flouted that a section of corrupt forest officials would destroy those fake horns and later smuggle them into international markets.

Recently Dhaka based Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental Journalists also welcomed the initiative to speared the message that rhino horns do not carry any aphrodisiac quality, for which the gigantic animals are poached across the world, but put forward a condition that those must be scientifically confirmed as real ones. The forum highlighted that the horns could fetch a million dollars in illegal markets spread across east Asia and hence the issue should be resolved amicably.

Officially known as the greater one-horned rhinoceros and found primarily in India and Nepal, the rhinos are listed as vulnerable on the IUCN red list. Assam alone gives shelter to over 2650 one-horned rhinos in its forest reserves. Kaziranga National Park is widely known for its more than 2,400 rhinos along with other precious wildlife. The people of Assam are also obsessed with the rhino as pride and continue raising voices for its scientific conservation.

Years back, Assam based conservation group Nature’s Beckon floated allegations that the State forest department used to sell around 300 rhino horns even after India adopted the wildlife protection act in 1972. The group asserted a large share of wildlife parts were sold in international markets from the forest department's stocks.

“We expect only the scientifically proved rhino horns are disposed in presence of wildlife experts, environment enthusiasts, eminent personalities from different other field of activities,” said a PPFA statement adding that the process must not give an ample scope for corrupt officials to illegally sell the syphoned horns from the consignment for their personal gains. Moreover, it added, the government should not hurry for the process to avoid any post-event controversy. 
 

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