MITHI: In a brazen violation of wildlife protection laws, as many as eight rare deer were hunted down and killed by five hunters in a wildlife sanctuary near Chelhar settlement in Tharparkar district Tuesday.
However the hunters were confronted by a young Thari boy, Utam Singh Rajput, who without caring for his life went after them in his jeep and forced them to surrender themselves to concerned villagers.
The huntsmen after hunting as many as eight rare deer in village Rangilo near Chelhar in the early hours of Tuesday were trying to escape from the area when Utam saw them and followed them in his jeep and managed to intercept them by ramming his jeep into their vehicle.
The hunters opened fire on Utam and other villagers, but Utam and the villagers remained unhurt and did not budge and put up resistance and did not allow them to flee.
Hunters forced to surrender after being confronted by a local youth
Meanwhile a large number of residents of nearby villages gathered at the venue. They caught three hunters red-handed and handed them over to the Mithi police.
Two hunters managed to escape from the scene.
The Mithi police on the complaint of one Saroop Singh registered an FIR against five suspects under relevant Sections of the Pakistan Penal Code.
The villagers carrying bodies of the hunted deer also staged a demonstration at Kashmir Chowk in Mithi where members of the civil society and rights activists also joined them in their protest.
The protesters demanded that all hunters involved in the incident were arrested and FIRs under the Anti-Terrorism Act were registered to stop such incidents in future.
Utam and other villagers said that they remained unhurt when they chased the hunters.
The members of the civil society, lawyers, rights activists speaking to the media deplored the fact that there was still hunting going on in a wildlife sanctuary.
They stressed the need to amend the existing laws of wildlife department in Sindh Assembly so that hunters and poachers in areas like Thar could be given severe punishments since the existing laws had many loopholes, which benefited hunters and poachers.
Minister takes notice, suspends four officials
Sindh Minister Syed Nasir Hussain Shah took notice of the incident and suspended four officials of the wildlife department, including deputy conservative officer Riaz Rind, for their failure to protect the rare species even in a wildlife sanctuary.
On the other hand, the members of the Thar Bar Association also announced that they would not plead the case of the hunters saying that they would never help anyone who were involved in such incidents and against the natural beauty of Tharparkar.
Published in Dawn, July 6th, 2022