Two Assam legislators threaten Kaziranga park staff with AK 47 rifles (With Image)

March 18th, 2009 - 10:44 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, March 18 (IANS) Two Assam legislative assembly members armed with automatic rifles threatened the staff at Kaziranga National Park in Assam when they tried to stop the legislators from entering the prohibited area, officials said Wednesday.
The incident took place Tuesday afternoon when Jiten Gogoi, legislator from Bokakhat constituency and Kushal Duori, legislator from Thowra constituency, forcefully entered the park through the Mihimukh forest gate allegedly for fishing.

“The legislators accompanied by 12 other people entered the park in three vehicles. The staff at the check gate immediately informed senior officers about the incident and a patrol party led by Dharani Dhar Boro rushed to the spot,” said A. Beg, forest range officer.

“Sometime later, the intruders were spotted near a riverside. However, upon being asked to leave the place, one of the legislators pulled out an AK 47 rife and threatened the staff with dire consequences,” Beg told IANS on telephone from Bokakhat.

An FIR (first information report) was lodged after the incident and the department has also petitioned the respective authorities to take action against the accused, he added.

Another official, requesting he not be identified, said the accused fled the scene following a scuffle with the forest staff. On their way out they broke the Mihimukh forest gate which is the entry point to the central range of Kaziranga, some 200 km from Assam’s main city of Guwahati.

The legislators also attacked the divisional forest office of the eastern Assam wildlife division in Bokakhat, he said.

Bibhab Kumar Talukdar of the Guwahati-based NGO Aaranyak told IANS in an email that this was not the first time the duo was involved in illegal fishing in Kaziranga.

“No matter whether they are legislators or not, the culprits need to be treated like culprits. Since they are the sitting legislators in Assam, the enforcement officials will find it challenging to take appropriate legal steps,” he said.

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