Villager spills racket beans
Monday , January 25 , 2010
Itanagar, Jan. 24: The recent killing of a tiger at Numuk in West Siang district of Arunachal Pradesh by local villagers and the sale of its skin to some businessmen from Assam appears to be just the tip of an inter-state smuggling racket active in the state.
The hamlet is located nearly 330km from here and about 35km from the district headquarters at Aalo. The skin was allegedly sold for Rs 1.5 lakh to the businessmen who had gone there from Silapathar in the neighbouring state.
Tapak Kato, a resident of Numuk who was witness to the killing, today said over phone from West Siang that during a village hunt, some youths from his village had ventured into the deep woods 5km from the village and spotted a tiger on January 15.
“Some youths of Numuk village, armed with a hunting gun, ventured into the dense jungle and waited atop a hill for hours for the prey. They finally spotted the tiger crouching near a bush and fired three shots. The wounded tiger, that weighed around 100kg, died where it fell and five of the youths pounced on it and carried it away after a while,” Kato said.
The flesh of the tiger was savoured by the villagers during a community feast.
Kato said the youths had contacted some businessmen in Guwahati who agreed to pay them Rs 50,000. But the youths were not ready to sell the skin for that amount. Later, some businessmen from Silapathar reached Numuk village and a deal was struck for Rs 1.5 lakh.
The businessmen from Silapathar had also come twice last year and bought tiger skins from two neighbouring villages, Kato said, adding that deer hide was sold to them after almost every community hunt.
The incident caught police and the district administration unawares.
The superintendent of police, West Siang, Tussar Taba, pleaded ignorance but did not rule out the presence of smugglers in the area.
“I am not aware of the incident as I was on leave for the past month….There is every possibility of a nexus between the villagers and the smugglers from Assam,” he said over phone from Aalo.
Namdapha and Pakke tiger reserves in Changlang and East Kameng districts of Arunachal Pradesh come under Project Tiger.
Chief minister Dorjee Khandu expressed concern over rampant poaching at a meeting with the forest and environment department last October.