Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Such crimes need mix of experts to be solved

Such crimes need mix of experts to be solved
Times of India

Gujarat Forensic Science University at Gandhinagar, along with Wildlife Institute of India (WII) at Dehradun and, Traffic India, kick-started a unique workshop on wildlife crime management for IFS officials from various tiger reserves across the country on Monday.

The week-long tailor-made course has been designed by the wildlife crime experts from DFS, Gandhinagar, WII and Traffic, said officials. The workshop will focus on various aspects of wildlife crimes — poaching, tactics used by poachers, crime scene management, legal position of law enforces, case studies and practical tools and techniques available to forest officials.

Director general of DFS, JM Vyas, said that Gujarat's Gir lion poaching case has now been adopted as a case study across the country. "DFS played a major role in collecting evidences and linking the crime to poachers. The incident has given a new dimension to the role of forensics in any wildlife crime cases. One needs a number of experts — ballistics, toxicology, chemistry and biology, along with conventional forensic experts. We have a pool of experts who are working on various cases from all over the country," he said.

Pradeep Khanna, principal chief conservator of forest, Gujarat, said: "When such crimes are on rise, knowledge of tools and technology of forensics will greatly enhance the capacity of forest officials. Evidences collected by forensic experts can create a watertight case against offenders," he said.

"In the last five years there has been a dramatic change of perception for us in context with forensic investigations. Now, all police personnel in Gujarat are being put through a basic course in forensics," said SS Khandwawala, director general of police, Gujarat.

The workshop has participants from major sanctuaries such as Ranthambhor, Corbett National Park, Kaziranga, Sariska, UP Tiger Reserve, Nagarjun Sagar, Periyar and Valmiki. Though tiger conservation is a priority for the officials, other crimes will also be given due importance, said organisers.

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