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Assam: Guard on duty brutally attacked at Nambor Sanctuary

Assam: Guard on duty brutally attacked at Nambor Sanctuary

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Mohibur Hussain Nambor Attack Mohibur Hussain Nambor Attack

A forest guard named Mohibur Hussain has been attacked brutally at the Nambor Wildlife Sanctuary in Assam. His hand was cut by alleged timber smugglers who were illegally cutting trees in the forested lands of Golaghat. The guard is now lodged at Golaghat Civil Hospital where he has received treatment. The incident happened in . It is a protected area located in the Karbi Anglong and Golaghat district of Assam in India. This wildlife sanctuary covers an area of 37 km2.

The region boasts

  • Flora - Bhelu, Gomari, Ajar, Nahor, Udiyam, Poma, Bon Som etc and harbors 51 rare species of orchid
  • Fauna - elephant, hoolock gibbon, stumped tailed macaque, pigtailed macaque, slow loris, Assamese macaque, rhesus macaque, tiger, leopard, fishing cat, barking deer, sambar, wild pigs, gaur, etc
  • Birds - great pied hornbill, hill myna, imperial pigeon, green pigeon, jungle fowl, pheasant, quail, whistling teal, cotton teal, plover, hawk, magpies, parrot, hornbill, racket-tailed drone, rock dove, king crow, etc,
  • Reptiles -python, cobra and monitor lizard

In such a sensitive ecological area, it is appalling to see a forest guard so underequipped to fight the smugglers. Civil society organisations have been raising the issue of lack of staff to guard the reserves, especially in Golaghat peripheries.

Also read: Assam: Sarba Siksha Abhiyan Mission’s advisory in ‘Bangla’ faces flak

To take stock of the situation, Inside Northeast contacted a top official of the Golghat range. The officer raised two important problems plaguing these areas. One is of lack of manpower. "There is around 49% shortage of manpower in these areas and that's why the forests lack protection". The forest officer also highlighted the plight of forest guards who don't have allowances to even guard properly. "The forest rangers cycle their way to work and we cant even provide traveling allowances at times".

The second problem is of encroachment. The 32 sq km jungle has been breached by humans. "If you look at the jungle, the breadth is only 4km and there are tea gardens in the vicinity". These encroachments have totally exposed the forests and as such brazen deforestation is happening openly.

The bigger issue

Assam has seen ecologically damaging activities in recent times: coal mining, timber smuggling, and poaching. However, in Golaghat forest encroachment is maximum and that has led to man-animal conflicts. Speaking to Inside Northeast, elephant conservator, Niranjan Bhuyan said, "the govt measures are not implemented and there's an increase of people inside the forest as a result of which trees are being felled". He further speculates that this has been institutionalised and as such "there are these continuous reports of smugglers attacking the forest protectors". He also alleged stone and sand mining carried out in Nambor, which are not following proper guidelines, and as such JCBs cause the wild animals to panic and come out of their habitat.

The course of action

The aforementioned problems of human encroachment, man-animal wildlife conflict, attack on forest guards, smuggling can all be narrowed down to complete disregard for the environment. However, the poor and the vulnerable are mostly bereft of choice when they exploit these forests, especially in Nambor Wildlife Sanctuary. As a whole, proper implementation and a forest policy focus is the need of the hour. So that they are rehabilitated into other skill based jobs. Otherwise, many more Mohibur Hussains will be attacked in the line of duty and the sad part is these guards are defenseless.

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