Dachigam National Park Turns Into Battleground As Sheep Employees Attack Wildlife Staff

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Srinagar: Employees from two government departments came to blows, assaulted and abused one another on Saturday morning after Wildlife department tried to evict Sheep Husbandry employees from the world famed Dachigam National Park.

According to the eyewitnesses, employees from Wildlife Department along with JCB arrived at Sheep Breeding Farm located inside Dachigam National Park. The Wildlife employees allegedly tried to dismantle the sheep breeding structures that were resented by the employees from Sheep Husbandry employees, resulting in the clashes.

“We’ve repeatedly issued notices to the Sheep Farm officials to evict the place but they have been beating around the bush,” Tahir Shawl, Wildlife Warden (Central) told Kashmir Observer. “We’re acting in accordance with the Cabinet Order No” 53/3 Dated 18/04/2005 endorsed vide eviction order under Section 53 (A) of J&K Wildlife Protection Act 1978 issued by Regional Wildlife Warden Kashmir Dated 25/11/2016.”

Shawl said his employees didn’t mean to create any ruckus rather humbly told the Farm employees to evict the place. “Few employees of the Sheep Farm resorted to slandering of the wildlife officials with one employee attacking our staff with kangris resulting in a scuffle.”

The matter has not died as of now and more action in this regard might be witnessed in the days to come.

It’s alleged the Wildlife Department entrusted with the protection of the Dachigam National Park has, over the years, has shown a lackadaisical approach towards their duties resulting in the virtual destruction of the Park.

Why the Cabinet Decision of 2005 was not implemented till date is a hint towards the irresponsible attitude of the government departments.

A lack of sense of responsibility on the part of the Department has reduced the area of the Park considerably. “It is for the first time the wildlife officials have risen against a nuisance that has all along been detrimental to the survival of the Hangul,” said an elderly person, a resident of Mulnar. “There was a time when we could see animals right in our farms but that has no become a thing of the past.”

He said the Sheep Farm, by hook or crook, must be removed from the park if the coming generations were to see the face of Hangul in Kashmir.

The sheep breeding farm located well within the Park is according to the experts, a great danger to the survival of the deer specie to which Dachigam is the last stronghold. The sheep farm which is spread over 100 acres (2000 kanals) was the prime breeding spot of the Hangul. The Sheep Husbandry Department is sitting over a cabinet decision which had asked the authorities to vacate the park.

The Mulnar side of the National Park has also seen some hectic human activity lately resulting in the spread of human settlements close to the Park. The locals have encroached upon the Park and seized some of its part for a graveyard as well.

On the southern flank of the park, the cement factories and stones quarries at Khrew are another great danger to the survival of the Hangul specie. Over the years, the unchecked mushroom growth of cement factories and stone quarries has squeezed the animal to a limited space within the park.

Wildlife activists and conservationists believe that if the corrective measures are not taken immediately, the Hangul which is also the Sate animal would be completely wiped out of the Park.


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