Meat confiscated, five booked; Army institutes inquiry

Poaching of chinkaras allegedly by Indian Army personnel in a remote village in Rajasthan's border district of Barmer led to an outcry in the State on Friday.

The Rajasthan forest authorities, who reached the spot and confiscated some meat, have registered cases against five persons under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The Army has instituted an inquiry into the matter.

Chinkara is a Schedule 1 animal and the area is inhabited by Bishnoi community which reveres wildlife, especially deer. The poaching was reported from Nimbla village. Apparently the Army jawans, who are deployed in the area in connection with the ongoing military exercise, killed three chinkaras for consumption of venison.

The act came to the notice of some villagers who reported the matter to Divisional Forest Officer B.R. Bhadu.

Mr. Bhadu, presently camping in the area, said the Forest team could confiscate the meat of the slaughtered animals from the Army camp. He suspected killing of three chinkaras by the Army personnel with the support of their officers.

A Gypsy splashed with blood was also spotted in the area.

Local reports said the personnel involved belong to the 282 Battalion. Initially the Army personnel had explained that the animal/s got killed after coming in front of their vehicle. Speaking from Jodhpur, Defence spokesman S.D. Goswami said the Army has instituted an inquiry into the matter following the complaints. The police version spoke of the involvement of Army personnel, he conceded.

“If anyone is found guilty in the inquiry he will be punished severely for the act. The Army will take all the necessary measures to bring such persons to book,” he added.

The forest authorities have sent a Wildlife Flying Squad Officer to Barmer as reinforcement to Mr. Bhadu and his team. The local Station House Officer also visited the village.