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Evening Safari in Kaziranga: Activists slams Assam CM, spiritual guru Sadhguru for breaking law

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Guwahati, Sept 25: Environment and animal rights activist on Sunday alleged that Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah, and Spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev aka Sadhguru drove a safari vehicle inside the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNP&TR) much beyond the scheduled time, violating the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

Activists Soneswar Narah and Prabin Pegu lodged a police complaint at the Bokakhat police station in Golaghat district against the Chief Minister, Spiritual guru and Assam’s Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah and demanded action against them under the act.

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“Villagers around the KNP&TR have sacrificed a lot to protect the world famous park. Wild tigers, elephants and other animals killed many domestic animals of the people living alongside the villages of the park,” Narah told the media.

Forest and other law enforcing agencies took actions against many people for “violating” the Wildlife Protection Act and and many people sentenced to imprisonment, he added.

The environment and animal rights activist said that if the law is equal for everyone, then action must be taken against the Chief Minister, Sadhguru and Tourism Minister for conducting the vehicle safari inside the KNP&TR much beyond the scheduled time.

A fleet of vehicles carrying the Chief Minister, Sadhguru, and Tourism Minister covered around two km inside the KNP&TR after the inauguration of a rhino memorial about two hours much behind the scheduled time on Saturday.

Sadhguru was driving one of the safari vehicles with the Assam Chief Minister in the passenger seat while the Tourism Minister sat in the back along with officials and guards.

Environment and wild animal expert Rohit Choudhury said that vehicle safari after sunset in Kaziranga is a violation of Section 27 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.

The act restricts the entry in a wildlife sanctuary of anyone other than a public servant on duty, he said.

Another environment and animal rights activist Apurba Ballave Goswami said that it is most unfortunate that an important person like Sadhguru, who is expected to practice what he preaches, has no sensitivity towards animals.

Goswami said that it is known to every one that wild animals in their protected homes and forest feel disturbed by lights, sounds and noises of vehicles at night.

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Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve re-opened for tourists

Assam Chief Minister, Sadhguru and Tourism Minister formally re-opened the KNP&TR for tourists for the forthcoming season on Saturday.

Elephant safari and jeep safari in the park, India’s seventh UNESCO world heritage site, remained closed during the monsoon and opened for the tourist in October but this year the park opens early to attract the tourists who could not visit there during the Covid-19 pandemic.

Statues made of rhino horn ashes unveiled

The Chief Minister and Sadhguru also unveiled three statues of rhinoceros at the Mihimukh area of the park. The statues were crafted using the ashes from the seized rhino horns, which were burnt on September 22 last year.

Assam had created history when a stockpile of 2,479 rhino horns was burnt through public function to send a strong message to poachers.

The KNP&TR, which is spread across five districts of Assam — Golaghat, Nagaon, Sonitpur, Biswanath and Karbi Anglong, is not just a home to at least 2,613 one-horned rhinos, but is also home to Royal Bengal tigers, Asian elephants, wild buffalos and many more animal species while it is also habitat to thousands of birds of over 125 species.

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