Coimbatore

MTR forest rangers allege intimidation from environmentalists

Forest rangers from Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) have submitted a petition to the Nilgiris district police against a man claiming to be an environmentalist. The officials said that they are being intimidated by the person and being hindered from working efficiently.

According to officials, the environmentalist in question, a member of the now defunct Nilgiri Wildlife and Environment Association (NWEA), has repeatedly threatened to have forest rangers and staff, who do not grant him access to protected forest areas, transferred. The person claims to be a close friend of a State Minister.

The person has also been accused of spreading rumours against the department, and seeking access to protected reserve forests.

Recently, forest rangers from MTR submitted a complaint to the district police urging them to take action against the person. Forest officials did not wish to comment on the issue, only confirming that a complaint was submitted to the police.

N. Sadiq Ali, founder of the Wildlife and Nature Conservation Trust (WNCT), has submitted a complaint to the Chief Minister’s Special Cell with similar allegations against two persons claiming to be conservationists. One of the two men is based in the Nilgiris and the other in Coimbatore.

“This person has been working against the forest department for a long time. He has been spreading false claims against officials while also hindering conservation work. For instance, when the WNCT had arranged for fodder to be delivered to the elephant camp in Theppakadu with the permission of the Collector and the Superintendent of Police, he called forest officials and threatened them,” said Mr. Ali, adding that the interference towards conservation work will have a tremendous impact on the morale of the forest staff, if strict action is not taken against the persons.

When contacted, Nilgiris district superintendent of police, Ashish Rawat, said that the issue is being investigation but added that no FIR has been lodged. “We have asked for more documents from the complainants to verify the authenticity of the claims,” said Mr. Rawat.


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Printable version | Aug 2, 2021 11:16:07 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Coimbatore/mtr-forest-rangers-allege-intimidation-from-environmentalists/article34895962.ece

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