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'Security forces can't ignore wildlife crime while on other duty'

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Guwahati, May 16 (Ajitweekly News) Gauhati High Court’s acting Chief Justice N. Kotiswar Singh said that the security forces including the central para-military force personnel cannot ignore the crimes related to wildlife although their main duty is to ensure security of the area they are posted in.

Officials of the Assam State Legal Services Authority (ASLSA) on Monday said Justice Singh while addressing a workshop on wildlife on Sunday at Bongaigaon said that the Border Security Force jawans deployed on the frontiers cannot ignore the cross border smuggling of precious wildlife or their parts.

“The Army and other central paramilitary troopers also can help forest and police personnel in preventing wildlife crimes,” the official said as said by the Justice.

“Fundamental duties enshrined in the Constitution of India entailed that all the citizens protect the environment, forest, water bodies and wildlife,” the officiating Gauhati High Court’s Chief Justice said.

He said the wildlife crimes across the world increased in an alarming proportion and required its prevention through multifaceted and coordinated efforts between the central, state forces, forest personnel and other agencies.

The workshop was organised by the ASLSA and Aaranyak, an Assam-based biodiversity conservation NGO.

Addressing the workshop, Justice Soumitra Saikia of the Gauhati High Court highlighted some key provisions in the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, as well as the provisions of the Code of Criminal Procedure that are equally applicable.

He said: “Judiciary can’t suggest or direct the government to frame a law. We can act after the circumstances of a case under the provision of the (relevant) Act.”

Aaranyak’s Secretary-General Bibhab Kumar Talukdar pointed out about the unwarranted links between wildlife crimes, narco-terrorism and arms smuggling.

“These have posed a grave threat to the national security and the country’s biodiversity hot spot in the northeast. Synergy among various enforcement agencies including forest, police, central forces and judiciary is the need of the hour in combating the global menace of wildlife crimes,” Talukdar said.

–Ajitweekly News

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