Lady Forest Officer’s Drive Led to Voluntary Surrender of 111 Illegal Country-Made Guns in Tamil Nadu
- Muskan Khandelwal
- Published on 27 Oct 2022, 9:01 am IST
- 4 minutes read
- DFO Karthikeyani K, IFS, spearheaded a special drive named ‘Eradicate illegal guns, save elephants’ in Hosur forest division of Tamil Nadu
- Forest personnel spread awareness in schools, colleges, buses, and among the village heads and women self-help groups
- Villagers living in the fringes of the wildlife sanctuaries voluntarily surrendered 111 illegal country-made guns to the forest department
To eradicate the danger to elephants from illegal country-made guns owned by the villagers living in the fringes of the forests in Hosur, Tamil Nadu, DFO Karthikeyani K, IFS, launched a special drive named ‘Eradicate illegal guns, save elephants’ in her division. The officer’s sheer determination and intensive work with the local village heads and women SHGs led to the voluntary surrender of 111 illegal country made guns by the villagers.
Speaking to Indian Masterminds, IFS officer Karthikeyani K shared details about the drive against illegal guns.
DRIVE AGAINST ILLEGAL GUNS
In the first week of September, the forest department of Hosur division in Tamil Nadu called for voluntary surrender of illegal country made guns to curb poaching and shooting of elephants straying into farmlands.
Thereafter, through a public announcement, the department urged people living in villages along the forest fringes to surrender any illegal country made guns in their possession at the forest range office or to the village heads, with the assurance that no legal action will be taken against them.
“Many villages in the Hosur division have illegal country made guns. So, in order to eradicate this danger, we started the drive and were able to get nearly 111 illegal country made guns from the villagers,” Ms. Karthikeyani said.
She further told Indian Masterminds that they gave the villagers a time limit of 15-20 days, and all along, forest staff spread awareness through drives in schools, colleges, buses, villages, and among the village heads and women self-help groups. The forest department also took the help of social media to create mass awareness so that the people who were willing to surrender get to know about the opportunity. The 111 illegals guns that were surrendered have been now handed over to the police department.
“The drive started in the first week of September and continued till the third week of the same month. The making of these country made guns have been going on for 2-3 decades now. We have been facing this problem in the forest area since the Veerappan days,” Ms. Karthikeyani said.
At the end of the drive, the forest department felicitated the village heads who helped in creating awareness about the need for gun surrender. Significantly, a dog squad was also used to assist in the process.
“After we were ready to take this step, we thought to involve the dog squad to unearth the illegal guns which are stored in the villages. So, firstly, we created awareness by sending the volunteers. After this drive, the dog squad was involved, and in case any illegal gun was found, then a case was booked against them,” said Ms. Karthikeyani.
She also informed that the Hosur forest division has two wildlife sanctuaries which are home to nearly 60-70 native elephants, and in the migration season, around 100-250 elephants are found in the forests.
She said that the problems are compounded by the migratory nature of the elephants and also jurisdictional issues. The forest department had earlier seized a number of weapons from places like Anchetty also. They are now hoping that this voluntary surrendering and the raids can help in bringing the number of country-made guns down, thereby preventing elephant poaching.
RECENT DATA OF ELEPHANT POACHING
Recent data from MoEFCC show that in the past three years, 90 cases of seizure of elephant tusks or ivory have been reported in India along with 29 cases of poaching of elephants. The highest number of cases of elephant tusk seizure was reported in 2021 with 42 cases. Similarly, incidents of poaching were also highest in the year 2021 with 14 cases reported in the country. Meghalaya accounted for 7 of the 14 poaching deaths.
Six elephant death due to poaching were reported in 2018-2019, while nine poaching deaths were reported in 2019-2020. Odisha, which is one of the hotspots of human-elephant conflicts, accounted for 7 elephant deaths while Meghalaya alone accounted for 12 deaths due to poaching in the past three years, and Tamil Nadu accounted for 3 deaths due to poaching.
END OF THE ARTICLE
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