Government yet to appoint public prosecutor for the case
Sumathi Madan Nayak broke down uncontrollably while laying a wreath at the memorial at Aranya Bhavan. Supported by her daughter Greeshma, she managed to lay the wreath even as the forest guards standing next to them did a smart salute.
She, along with her daughters Greeshma and Megha, was participating in the Forest Martyrs’ Day programme here on Saturday. Ms. Nayak’s husband, Madan H. Nayak, Assistant Conservator of Forests, was fatally assaulted by a group of 20 people who were trying to feed crocodiles in the crocodile park in Dandeli in May this year.
Speaking to journalists later, Ms. Nayak said those who had assaulted her husband were already out on bail, though the government was yet to appoint a public prosecutor for the case that was being heard in a Karwar court. “We were assured that the public prosecutor will be appointed in 15 days. We urge the government to support us in this case and ensure that my husband gets justice.”
She said she wanted the government to name the Crocodile Valley resort in the Dandeli-Anshi Tiger Reserve after her husband, who had served in the Department of Forests for 27 years. She said either of her daughters should be given government job, besides sanctioning a site for the family.
Earlier, Minister for Forests and Ecology C.P. Yogeshwar noted that the Forest Martyrs’ Day was being celebrated for the past 21 years in memory of forest official P. Srinivas who was brutally murdered by forest brigand Veerappan. “We honour forest personnel who have laid down their life trying to protect our forests. Unfortunately, these days, forests have come to be associated more with entertainment than conservation. Awareness on conservation should reach the common man.”
He said there was a proposal to strengthen the vigilance squads of the department by sanctioning more facilities such as arms, medical benefits, uniforms and housing. He added he would also follow up on the regularisation of services of the daily wage workers in the department.
Ms. Nayak was given Rs. 2 lakh as relief by the Indian Forest Service Association and Rs. 1.5 lakh by the Assistant Conservators of Forests Association. Savithramma Dabbanna, wife of daily wage worker Dabbanna who was killed by rogue elephants in Bannerghatta National Park in August this year, received Rs. 50,000 from the Martyrs’ Day Committee and another Rs. 50,000 from the Indian Forest Service Association.
R. Sridharan, principal secretary of the Department of Forests, Environment and Ecology, Lalrokhuma Pachau, Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, and Avani Kumar Varma, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (head of forest squad), were present.