Resign, since you can't save rhino: BJP tells Assam minister

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 26, 2012 14:40 hrs

Guwahati, Sep 26 (IANS) The BJP has slammed the Assam government for its failure to protect the one-horned rhinoceros, considered the pride of Assam, and demanded the resignation of state Forest Minister Rockybul Hussain.

BJP national vice president and Lok Sabha member from Guwahati Bijoya Chakrabarty, speaking to journalists at the Guwahati Press Club, said she has already written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh highlighting the state government's failure to curb the poaching of rhinos in "protected areas" of Assam.

Chakrabarty pointed out that a total of 292 rhinos have already been poached in various protected areas of Assam since the Tarun Gogoi-led government came to power in the state in 2001.

"It is frustrating that poachers could kill rhinos in the high-security Kaziranga National Park. This has exposed the Assam forest minister's utter failure in stopping poaching in a national park, which has been declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Rockybul Hussain should immediately resign owning moral responsibility for his failure," Chakrabarty said.

"When the first wave of floods hit the state in June this year, over 600 animals, including a large number of hog deer and rhinos, were killed. On top of that, poachers are constantly on the prowl, inside and outside parks. However, there has not been any move to stop such wildlife crimes. Kaziranga is the pride of Assam, and it should be protected at any cost," Chakrabarty said.

Chakrabarty said the Kaziranga National Park has also been threatened by illegal encroachers. Over four lakh hectares of land in the park has been occupied by people with "dubious citizenship", she said.

The senior BJP leader criticised Chief Minister Tarun Gogoi for going on a trip to Japan when almost the entire population of the state was suffering from floods.

"It is unfortunate that chief minister is out of the state. When the state was hit by severe floods in June this year, Gogoi was abroad. This shows how the chief minister is not at all serious about the misery of people in the state," she said.

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