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PPFA demands transparency in Assam rhino horn disposal

It may be mentioned that the State cabinet recently resolved to destroy 2,479 rhino horns, out of 2,623 horns stored in various treasuries.

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Guwahati: Patriotic People’s Front Assam (PPFA) supports the
initiative to dispose of wildlife parts including the
rhinoceros-horns kept in State treasuries for decades, but it demands
full transparency in the process.

The forum of nationalist citizens urged State chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma to ensure that only the certified genuine horns are burnt in presence of distinguished personalities in full public view.

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It may be mentioned that the State cabinet recently resolved to
destroy 2,479 rhino horns, out of 2,623 horns stored in various
treasuries. The State forest and environment department has already
conducted the verification process to identify probable fake horns
among the real ones in 12 treasuries across Assam as allegations
flouted that a section of corrupt forest officials would destroy those
fake horns and later smuggle those into international markets.

Earlier the Dhaka based Asia-Pacific Forum of Environmental
Journalists welcomed the initiative to speared the message that rhino
horns do not carry any aphrodisiac quality, for which the gigantic
animals are poached across the world, but it also put forward a
a condition that must be scientifically confirmed as the real one. It
highlighted that the horns could fetch a million dollars in illegal
markets spread across east Asia and hence the issue should be resolved
amicably.

Officially known as the greater one-horned rhinoceros and found
primarily in India and Nepal, the rhinos are listed as vulnerable on
the IUCN red list. Assam alone gives shelter to over 2650 one-horned
rhinos in its forest reserves. Kaziranga National Park is widely known
for its over 2,400 rhinos along with other precious wildlife. The
people of Assam are also obsessed with the rhino as pride and
continue raising voices for its scientific conservation.

Years back, northeast India’s active conservation group Nature’s
Beckon claimed that the State forest department used to sell rhino
horns even after India adopted the wildlife protection act in 1972.
The department allegedly sold 13 horns during 1972-73, 19 in 1973-74,
40 (1974-75), 18 (1975-76), 27 (1976-78),42 (1977-78), 63 (1978-79), 63 (1978-79), 61 (1979-80), etc. The group asserted a large share of wildlife parts from the department’s stocks were sold in international
markets.

“We expect only the scientifically proved rhino horns are disposed of in
presence of wildlife experts, environment enthusiasts, eminent
personalities from various other fields of activities” said a PPFA
statement adding that the process must not give ample scope for
corrupt officials to illegally sell the syphoned away horns from the
consignment for their personal gains. Moreover, it added, the
government should not hurry for the process certainly to evade any
post-event controversy.

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