In a major operation by the officials of the Karnataka forest department eleven persons have been arrested for hunting two sambar deer in Kemmannugundi forest area in Chikkamagaluru district of Karnataka for their new year party. The arrested include a software engineer working for a reputed IT company, a sharp shooter and a coffee planter among others. Of the 11 arrested, four are from Bengaluru. Forest Department officials recovered two vehicles, a carcass of one sambar, and 70 kg meat of another. Rafeek, a resident of Richmond Town in Bengaluru, is absconding.
Those arrested are Akhthar Ahmed (67), Mohammed Sameer Ahmed (29), both planters from Sakleshpur; Mohammed Rizwan (36) of Somwarpet in Kodagu; M. Ali (22); Meer Nair Ali (23); Meer Nazeer Ali (18), a student; Syed Aman (30), a software engineer; all residents of Bengaluru, and Arun (23), Prasanna (18), Chethan (26) and Harish (25), from a village near Kemmannugundi. The incident has raised concern over urban people going to forest for hunting, which is a very disturbing factor.
According to forest officials the group have gone hunting near Nettichowka village and gunned down the two animals. They slaughtered one and decided to leave the place as it was already dawn. They were caught while transporting the carcasses in two vehicles, said a press release issued by the Forest Department.
Forest officials said that their love for shooting and ‘wild meat’ has now landed them in jail with officials booking them under various sections of the Indian Wildlife Act (Protection) 1972. Interestingly the accused include two software engineers working with globally reputed Bengaluru-based software firm, an M Tech graduate in environmental science, residents of upmarket Richmond Town. Most of these urban youth were trained in shooting and have won several awards in shooting competitions conducted by Karnataka State Rifle Association, Bengaluru. All of them were caught red-handed in Thanigebailu Range of Bhadra Wildlife Division in Chikkamagaluru district.
According to Ullas, Range Forest Officer of Thanigebailu Range said, “Out of the 12, 11 have been arrested while the main accused Rafeeq Ahmed is absconding and search is on.
The forest offcials said Mir Mudassir Ali and Mohammed Samir have revealed that they were the employees of Infosys while Syed Ahemed has claimed to be an M Tech graduate in Environmental Science.
Ullas said “They had cut the female deer into pieces and dressed it for transportation. As it was getting bright during the wee hours, they thought of moving out of forest first and then finish with the meat dressing at a nearby place.
“They wanted to take back the meat to Bengaluru for New Year party with friends. While the female deer weighed 70 kgs, the male deer weighed about 200 kgs” he added.
All the accused were presented before the magistrate and handed over to judicial custody. In March 2014, the Forest Department had arrested seven poachers near Bababudangiri Hills in Chikkamagaluru taluk. The accused had shot at a deer.