Guwahati, Feb. 8: The AGP today blamed the alleged nexus between Assam forest minister Rakibul Hussain and poachers for the spurt in rhino killings.
AGP general secretary Durga Das Boro, while addressing a news conference here today, alleged that Hussain was patronising and protecting those involved in rhino poaching. "Poachers have not only killed the rhinos but also took away their horns," he said, expressing concern over the state government's failure to curb poaching.
Boro alleged that two rhino poachers, who were arrested with horns from Hussain's constituency Samaguri in Nagaon district a few days ago, were both Congress workers. "A police team was also attacked by Congress workers at Samaguri for arresting the poachers," he said.
In 1983, when Hussain's father late Alhaz Nurul Hussain was the Congress MLA from Samaguri, around 40 rhinos were killed in Laokhowa wildlife, which comes under the constituency. "It seems that he is competing with his father," Boro said.
He said Hussain's tenure as forest minister had not only seen the increase in poaching of wild animals but also a rise in encroachment of forestland. "Union environment and forest minister Jayanthi Natarajan had revealed in Lok Sabha that Assam is one of the top states with largescale encroachment of forestland of 2,59,700 hectares," Boro said.
According to the AGP leader, they did not have much faith on the state election commissioner Biren Dutta since chief minister Tarun Gogoi appointed him.
"We have lodged several written complaints about anomalies by the Congress during campaigning for the panchayat polls but Dutta is yet to take necessary action, which has created doubts about the impartiality of the state poll panel," Boro said.
The AGP leader demanded the panel to take all necessary action and precautions so the Congress is not able to manipulate the counting of votes.