VILLAGERS BACKTRACK IN BLACKBUCK POACHING CASE - 23rd July 2012

Aparna Nair TNN
NAGPUR: The case of the black buck poaching that happened in the Washim district of Vidarbha has gained a new twist with the villagers submitting to the Ansing police station that they do not have any complaints against the accused.

"The villagers had seen the accused in the village for a few days and were anxious about their activities, and that is why they approached us. Now, the villagers have given it in writing that they don't have any problem with them," said Kishor Markad, a constable of the Ansing police station.

He also added that when they searched the vehicle of the accused no body of the dead animal was found. "The villagers just brought the corpse, but we do not know from where," Markad said.

But activists say that it is political pressure that is making the villagers backtrack. One of the accused, Anil Naik, is the nephew of state minister Manohar Naik who, it is being said, is using his powers to pressure the villagers into giving up the matter.

On Saturday, the Satpuda Foundation and the honorary wildlife wardens of the five districts of Vidarbha had celebrated the villagers for their bravery in getting hold of the poachers.
But the Satpuda Foundation found that the villagers refused to take part in it and even the sarpanch of the village, Jambharun refused to be a part of the function. The villagers reportedly told the organizers of the function not to conduct it as they are facing tremendous pressure.

"The minister is using his influence. The villagers have done an admirable job by catching the poachers, but as one of the prime accused is a relative of a minister no proper action is being taken," said Kundan Hate, honorary wildlife warden of Nagpur.
"If the villagers take action in this case, their development will be hampered, this is the way they are being threatened," Hate said.

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