Tuesday, September 04, 2007

Offenders beware; Forest guards get more teeth

Cheers my friends.

Here is more good news from Forest Department. This move will really embolden frontline forest staff to use their weapons fearlessly. Normally they did not use weapons with fear of Police Complaints. And offenders / poachers were using police complaint as threat against forest staff. But now golden days are here again…  Please read attached email.

Should I say?

Happy Shooting to foresters!

Kishore Kotecha

Wildlife Conservation Trust



Offenders beware; Forest guards get more teeth

Ahmedabad Newline


Gandhinagar, September 3: FOREST guards would now be able to use their weapons against forest offenders without fear of police action against them. The state government has resolved to give them a layer of protection against criminal prosecution.

Aimed at giving more teeth and fire power to its field staff, in case of use of fire arms while protecting the forest areas, the Forest Department has resolved that a magisterial inquiry would be necessary before registering a case against any officer.

The immunity is aimed at shielding those forest personnel — from beat guards to range officers — who might be open to criminal proceedings for the use of fire arms. From now on, in any case of firing resorted to by the forest staff, first a magisterial inquiry would be held by a department appointed executive magistrate. Only after being found guilty of unnecessary, unwarranted, or excessive use of force by this inquiry, the officer would be liable to prosecution by police. With the department drawing flak over poaching of Asiatic Lions in the heavily protected Gir sanctuary, and continuous felling of trees by armed gangs, this provision of immunity is likely to embolden the armed guards. Officials maintain that this protection was needed to provide a sense of security to the lower staff charged with actual policing of the forest. “Earlier, the offenders knew that the forest staff would not use their weapons as they were likely to be prosecuted. After this decision, our staff and even the offenders know that the weapons can be rightfully used without fear of being dragged into wrongful complaints of excess use of force,” said Principal Chief Conservator of Forests M L Sharma.

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