Guwahati, June 16: Kaziranga National Park (KNP) staff were attacked by villagers at Mandu Bey village in Kaziranga on suspicion that they were child-lifters.
On June 6, KNP’s Bagori forest range officer Pankaj Bora and three other officials of the forest department were attacked by the mob while they were on patrolling duty.
This village is close to Karbi Anglong border – where on June 8, two Guwahati boys were lynched to death by a mob in Panjuri Kacharigaon village on suspicion that they were child-lifters.
As per reports, the security personnel were on patrolling duty on June 6 and on the lookout for poachers.
M Brahma, SI, Rongbong Bey police station in Karbi Anglong said, “The security personnel were travelling not in police vehicles. When the suspicious villagers tried to stop their vehicles, they didn’t stop which miffed the local people. This made their suspicion grew stronger and assuming them to be miscreants, they attacked them.”
He added, “It might be a case of child-lifting also because the villages are gripped by fear over fake messages on hopadhora.”
On the other hand, it is also said that around 9 pm, Bora and other officials were attacked by the panic-stricken villagers after the news spread that they were land mafias.
It is said that one Bronson Terong, a sand dealer and a suspected sand mafia, who was also present at the spot had allegedly instigated the villagers. Locals shared that it was Terong who told the villagers that security personnel were running illegal mining activities. The angry mob attacked the personnel and also damaged their vehicles too. Later, when police reached the spot, Terong told police that the locals suspected the security personnel to be child-lifters and hence attacked them.
It may be mentioned that as Assam is hit by the first wave of flood, the state forest department has intensified vigil on movements of animals including poachers at the KNP.
Around seventy per cent of the global Greater one-horned rhino population lives in Assam’s KNP. Every year, during flooding season, the rhinos and other animals move to the higher grounds, often moving into villages outside of the Park, leading to human-wildlife conflict and also making them vulnerable to poaching.