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AGP nominates ‘rhino poacher’ to contest panchayat polls

GUWAHATI: The regional Asom Gana Parishad (AGP) , an ally in the BJP-led government in Assam, has found itself in the eye of a  storm after has given nomination to a tainted person who has been charge-sheeted by the CBI for involvement in rhino poaching an accused in rhino poaching to contest the forthcoming panchayat election in the state.

The AGP has given nomination to Ganesh Doley, am accused in  rhino poaching cases, to contest panchayat ejection for  the post of president of Moridhansiri Village Panchayat under West Golaghat Development Block under Bokakhat Legislative Assembly Constituency (LAC).

It may be mentioned that Bokakhat LAC is represented by AGP president Atul Bora, the state agriculture minister.

Ganesh Doley has several rhino poaching cases pending against him which are under trial in Golaghat district court. He was charge-sheeted by the CBI in a rhino poaching case registered in Rongbong Bey Police station ( Case no: 7/2012) in Karbi Anglong district of Assam. He was also arrested by forest personnel along with his car following killing of a rhino at Agaratoli Range of Kaziranga National Park (KNP) in 2013, according to Range Officer Dharani Bora. The Range Officer stated that Doley had resorted to a baseless campaign stating that he had been absolved of all the rhino poaching cases pending against him.

Meanwhile, the opposition Congress has lodged a complaint with the Election Officer of Bokakhat Sub-division to reject the candidature of Ganesh Doley in view of the cases of rhino poaching pending against him.

On the other hand the AGP’s Bokakhat district president Jagat Kalita has stated that a person can be held guilty till he is convicted by a court of law and so Ganesh Doley could be a candidate for panchayat polls as he was yet to be convicted by a court of law.

Meanwhile, nature conservation  leaders too have expressed their surprise and displeasure over poll candidature given to tainted persons involved in wildlife poaching and illegal wildlife parts trade.

Dr Bibhab Kumar Talukdar, Asia Coordinator of International Rhino Foundation and Secretary General of Aaranyak  stated, : “It is very unfortunate that some political parties are fielding candidates in upcoming Panchayat election in Assam against whom cases related to rhino hunting along with cases under Arms Act are going on. Political parties should maintain their clean image by not fielding any such candidates having cases going on. Rhinos are pride of Assam and protected by Wildlife Protection Act 1972. We fail to understand for what reasons some political parties have opted for candidates having alleged involvement with rhino hunting using illegal arms. Do these political parties need money derived from illegal trade of rhino horn to fight election? Or international traders associated with illegal trafficking and killing of wildlife is funding some candidates with an aim to grab power so that they can run their illegal activities without hindrance?”

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