Forest officials boycott tiger census fearing Maoist presence

Last Updated: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 11:32

Bhubaneswar: Forest officials of the
Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary in Nuapada district boycotted the
tiger census fearing danger to their live as they suspected a
large number of Maoists have entered the area.

"That the Maoists are roaming freely inside the
sanctuary area was alleged by forest personnel, who boycotted
the tiger census on May 8. I have already informed the state
government about their allegation," Orissa`s chief wildlife
warden P N Padhi said on Tuesday.

The forest officials suspected that a large number of
dreaded ultras from neighbouring Chhattisgarh had entered into
the sanctuary area after the Dantewada massacre on April 6.

The fear of the forest personnel stems from the recent
killing of Sangram Swain, a forest guard inside the sanctuary
on April 29.

Home department must be aware if there are Maoists
inside the sanctuary, said forest department secretary U N
Behera.

The Sunabeda Wildlife Sanctuary, spread over 600 sq km
in Nuapada district bordering Chhattisgarh, had 32 tigers
according to a census conducted in 2004.

The sanctuary comprises 15 revenue villages and is home
to about 15,000 ethnic tribes belonging to Chakuita, Paharia
and Bhunjiya tribes.

Naxals hoisted a black flag in the sanctuary area on
Independence Day in 2009.

PTI



First Published: Tuesday, May 11, 2010 - 11:32

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