Hunting festival raises concerns, officials ask tribals to spare animals

Adequate arrangements have been made to prevent hunting of animals in Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary during the annual Bishu Sendra Parv (hunting festival) of the tribal community on Monday.

Armed with traditional weapons, hundreds of tribals from East and West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharswan districts of Jharkhand as well as bordering districts of West Bengal and Odisha will start climbing the Dalma hill on Sunday to take part in the hunting festival on Monday.

Divisional Forest Officer, Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, Kamlesh Pandey said that the department had set up 15 check posts at various places to stop entry of the hunters.

“We have also deputed over 25 magistrates at strategic joints to prevent killing of wildlife,” he said adding the magistrates would also be deputed at railway stations to discourage the tribal hunters.

The department also urged the South Eastern Railway to launch a campaign against ticketless travellers as most of these hunters travel in passenger trains without ticket. Pandey said that department has launched an awareness campaign in the rural pockets for the last three months urging the tribals to shun killing of innocent animals.

Pandey claimed that the department has succeeded to convince majority of the tribals and they had said the festival would be celebrated in a symbolic manner and preserve the custom without harming the wildlife.

The forest department has installed deep boring well to provide the tribals drinking water in over half a dozen villages, and was supporting them in breeding honey-bee as a source of livelihood while concrete toilets were built in the villages, he said.

On the two groups that were adamant to celebrate the festival in separate dates, May 12 and 19, Pandey said the department had discussed with the groups' leaders and the issue was likely to be settled much before the festival.

Jharkhand Governor Dr Syed Ahmed and Chief Minister Hemant Soren also appealed to the tribal community to celebrate the festival in a symbolic manner without harming the innocent animals.

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