Dibya Kamal Bordoloi
Poachers killed 239 Rhinos during 2001-2016 in the congress regime.
Kaziranga: when the Congress party was in power in Assam, the world-famous Kaziranga National Park was about to lose its identity for unbelievable numbers of poaching incidents every year. At least poaching data says this. But the Rhinos of Kaziranga are now in safe hands, as the poaching has come down significantly in the UNESCO World Heritage Site. This year, so far, only one Rhino has been killed by poachers in Kaziranga.
There has been a marked change in the KNP ever since the change of guard at Dispur in 2016. After around 15 years, the situation in Kaziranga has taken a turn for the better when it comes to the poaching of the famous one horn Rhinos. In 2020, the vigilant forest guards could keep the Rhinos safe inside the forest amid the Coronavirus pandemic. Only 2 cases of poaching were reported in 2020 from Kaziranga. But the situation was not like this a few years ago.
During the Congress rule in Assam from 2001 to 20016, a total of 161 Rhinos were killed in Kaziranga alone by poachers. During the same period total of 239 Rhinos were killed by poachers in different forests in Assam. Out of that, 34 of them were killed in Orang National Park, 15 one-horned Rhinos in Pabitora Wildlife Sanctuary and 9 in Manas National Park. The remaining 20 rhinos were killed in different areas of the state, where Rhinos were out for grazing from secured forest areas.
Rhino poaching was at its peak from 2006 to 2015 during the Congress regime in the State. During 2013/14 in Kaziranga, 54 Rhinos were killed by poachers. In the year 2015, poachers killed 17 Rhinos in the national park. In 2016 amid the assembly election and a change of guard in Dispur, poachers killed 18 Rhinos in Kaziranga. It was alleged by the then opposition parties that poachers in the state have good political links, which is one of the prime reasons for increasing numbers of poaching.
It was one of the agendas set by the ruling BJP to stop poaching in Kaziranga in their election manifesto in 2016. But after coming to power in Dispur, the BJP government took bold and stern measures to check poaching in the national park and the entire state.
The BJP government, with an order from the Guwahati High Court, evicted the illegal encroachment by immigrant Muslims inside the park territory, which was the safe hidings of poachers. Armed Rhino protection force was deployed in Kaziranga. In the following year, the numbers of poaching had come down to 6. In 2018 too, poachers killed only 6 Rhinos in Kaziranga. This had come down to exactly half (3) in 2019. There are an estimated 2650 numbers of Rhinos in Assam; out of that, 2401 are in Kaziranga National Park.
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