Environment conservation group seeks CBI probe into ‘fake’ rhino horns

A leading environment conservation organisation here has demanded CBI probe into the “fake” rhino horns in the custody of state forest department and various treasuries of Assam. Nature’s Beckon and Journalists’ Forum of Assam has written to Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal and expressed happiness over the initiative taken by the government to verify and identify the “fake” horns in the custody of the state forest department and various treasuries in Assam.

“It must be, however, mentioned that the committee set up for the purpose includes a few forest officials, during whose tenures the conservation activists alleged of frequent poaching of rhinos in various forest reserves. Hence, the people of Assam may find it difficult to accept the report of the present committee,” Nature’s Beckon Director Soumyadeep Dutta said. It is alleged  the committee has been constituted hastily with some suspected people might be dealt with rhino horn trade and poaching.

He said they had taken up the initiative years ago to inform the people of the state about rhino horns missing from the custody of the forest department and “we still suspect that a section of forest officials are involved in the illegal trade of rhino horns”. The Rhino Horn Verification Committee had also declared recently that it would not reveal the number of rhino horns kept in the custody of Assam government since 1980, which “we strongly oppose and demand that all statistics related to rhino horns are disclosed”.

Secondly, the committee opined that only the suspected horns would be sent for forensic examinations, but “we demand sending of each and every rhino horn for forensic test authentication,” Dutta added. Dutta also proposed the presence of an Executive Magistrate and few locals who have been raising their voice against rhino poaching during the verification of the rhino horns. It is alleged  the committee has been constituted with some suspected people might be dealt with rhino horn trade and poaching
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