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Rajasthan community protests release of Tiger Zinda Hai; allege Salman Khan insulted them

A community from Rajashtan raised slogans and tore posters of the Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif movie Tiger Zinda Hai that released nationwide on Friday.The members of the community alleged that the actor, during an episode of Bigg Boss, had insulted the community by using pejoratives against lower castes during the show.In Rajasthan, protests were seen across cinema halls in Jaipur and in KotaAs a result, several morning shows have been cancelled in the state.The police ensured that the protests did not turn violent and remanded several people in custody.The movie, directed by Ali Abbas Zafar is a sequel to Kabir Khan’s bockbuster Ek Tha Tiger. The movie-goers and Salman’s fans have a lot of expectations from Tiger Zinda Hai as the film brings back the jodi of Salman and Katrina on the silver screens after five years.Going by the advance bookings for Tiger Zinda Hai, looks like the movie should manage to rake in a total of approx Rs 30-35 crore on day one of its release. Ever since the advance bookings opened on Sunday, the film recorded a sharp increase in the number of bookings.Going by the current trends, the film’s trailer and songs have generated enough buzz to pull the fans to the theatres on day one. The collections from day two onwards will depend on the reviews and word of mouth of the audience as well.

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Reel-ing under Padmavati row, Santa season may usher in good luck!

Picture abhi baki hain…mere dost. Tiger Zinda Hain is expected to roar and set the cash registers ringing. After several weeks of slumped business in theatres due to Padmavati ban, film exhibitors and distributors have a sole hope on the upcoming Salman-starrer at a estimated cost of Rs 175-crore flick along with Akshay-starrer 45-crore Padman!The total business in December was expected to be more than Rs 500 crore with movies like Padmavati and Tiger Zinda Hai combined. Fukrey Returns has balanced things out a bit. The industry now has high expectations from Tiger…, said Ansh Rathore, a city-based film director who has worked on several Bollywood hits.“After Golmaal Again in October, there has not been any Bollywood blockbuster. There were hopes from Padmavati but it has not been released by censor yet. Two months later, our hopes only hang on Tiger Zinda Hai now,” said Sunil Bansal, film distributor, Yash Raj Films.The Bhansali productions film was expected to generate huge revenue for both exhibitors as well as the distributors, but has only resulted in disbalanced accounts.“This is the worst quarter in last five years for both distributors and exhibitors. Exhibitors are in a very bad shape. This is because the regular expenditures are fixed, whether the film is released or not,” said Kamal Mukut, film exhibitor, Mukutwalas.“About 50 per cent of the revenue is given to the exhibitor. I think Padmavati was expected to be around Rs 250 crore movie. About Rs 125 crore was expected by exhibitors across the country. The entire balance sheet of the quarter has been disturbed because the movie was not released,” he added.Furthermore, the exhibitors had to continue with the existing films and several lower budget films that were due to be released, during the three-week void. However, it did not result in a break-even.“The revenue loss from one film cannot be recovered from another film. Each film has a particular balance sheet. Existing movies had to be continued for few more weeks as a result. I was expecting a revenue of Rs 50 lakh through Padmavati in December. However, I have only earned Rs 7 lakh till now,” Mukut informed.Even local film exhibitors have not been spared from the overall brunt. They are also skeptical about releasing Padmavati in Jaipur due to continuous rukus created by Rajput Karni Sena.“We are in a great loss. We are experiencing a loss to the tune of Rs 7 to Rs 8 lakh per week from the beginning of December. We do not expect a break even of the loss that has already been incurred,” said an official from Raj Mandir Cinema.“The revenue loss from one film cannot be recovered from another film. Each film has a particular balance sheet. Existing movies had to be continued for few more weeks as a result. I was expecting a revenue of Rs 50 lakh through Padmavati in December. However, I have only earned Rs 7 lakh till now,” Kamal Mukut, film exhibitor, Mukutwalas said.ACTION!Movies running:Fukrey Returns- 3.5/5 *Firangi – 2/5*Monsoon Shootout – 3/5*Upcoming blockbusters-Tiger Zinda Hai – budget: Rs 175 crorePadman – budget: Rs 45 crore

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Screen Marathi film ‘Deva’ with ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’: Maharashtra Navnirman Sena

Threatening the producers of Tiger Zinda Hai over the problems in the screening of the Marathi film Deva, the Raj Thackeray-led Maharashtra Navnirman Sena (MNS) has sought that licenses of cinema halls not screening Marathi movies be scrapped.Speaking to the media on Wednesday, MNS cine wing chief Ameya Khopkar said that single-screen theatres and multiplexes were not willing to screen Deva, which will release on December 22. “Yash Raj Films is indulging in dadagiri and has told multiplex and single-screen theatres that they are unwilling to share screens with others…. it is a tragedy that Marathi films are being forced to beg with theatres,” he charged.“We are not opposed to Tiger Zinda Hai but are against bullying,” said Khopkar, questioning if producers of Hindi films could behave likewise in other non-Hindi speaking states.“If Deva does not get theatres on December 22, then Yash Raj Films must keep in mind that their films are shot in Maharashtra,” he threatened. Khopkar demanded that theatres which did not screen Marathi films as was mandated by law. According to the Bombay Cinema (Regulation) Act, 1953, the single-screen theatres are supposed to show a Marathi movie for at least four weeks in a year. According to a policy framed in 2001, the multiplexes have to show Marathi films on one of its screens for at least one month in a year.Khopkar, who was accompanied by the cast of Deva, said he had spoken to cultural affairs minister Vinod Tawade who had promised to speak to multiplexes for the movie.“The producers of Tiger Zinda Hai have booked all five daily shows leaving us with no slot,” said Deva, lead actor Ankush Chaudhari.

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Green clearance must for rail projects on forest land: MoEF&CC

Railway projects passing through forest lands, national parks and eco-sensitive zones will not be exempted from the forest clearance process, the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change (MoEF&CC) told the Railways Ministry and state forest departments. The Environment Ministry’s clarification on the matter comes after the Railways had argued that Railways Act, 1989, gives it the power to acquire land, including forests, falling in its right of way. MoEF&CC clarified its position on the issue after referring the matter to the Ministry of Law and Justice, who seconded the Environment Ministry’s opinion.DNA has reviewed the MoEF&CC letter to Railways Ministry and state forest departments.The MoEF&CC told Railways, that as per the Law Ministry, despite provisions of the Railways Act, 1989, allowing Railways to acquire any land for its projects, forest land falling in the right of way attract provisions of the Forest Conservation Act, 1980. MoEF&CC added that even if the forest land is under the possession of the Railways, it will need to seek forest clearance for non-forestry work. Further, projects passing through protected areas would need the approval of the National Board for Wildlife.“Railway projects passing through wildlife sanctuaries, national parks, and tiger reserves amount to destruction of habitat within the meaning of various sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. The need of seeking approval for railway projects passing through a wildlife sanctuary is in pursuance of Supreme Court order of 2002,” the MoEF&CC said.The Railways had raised the issue of applicability of Forest Conservation Act, 1980, and Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, for its projects citing the upcoming conversion of Akola-Khandwa railway line from metre gauge to broad gauge. The railway line passes through a reserve forest, Wan sanctuary and the Melghat Tiger Reserve in Maharashtra. Of the 176-km track, 40 km passes through forested areas and of that 18 km lies inside the tiger reserve. According to government documents, the project would require diversion of 160.94 hectares of forest from the critical tiger habitat of Wan Sanctuary, a part of Melghat Tiger Reserve.OVERRULEDThe Railways had argued that Railways Act, 1989, gives it the power to acquire land, including forests, falling in its right of way. MoEF&CC clarified that Railway projects passing through forest land, national parks, eco-sensitive zones will not be exempted from forest clearance process.

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UP to set up first Tiger Reserve Centre in Pilibhit

Yogi Adityanath government in Uttar Pradesh has decided to set up state’s first Tiger Rescue Centre at Pilibhit Tiger Reserve to check growing number of incidence between the majestic predator and mankind.Forest department officials claimed that as many as half a dozen people were mauled by tiger and leopard in the past one year in Pilibhit, Lakhimpur Kheri and Behraich districts of Uttar Pradesh. About a dozen cases of wild beast attack on villagers were reported in the last four months alone.Spread in an area of 703 kms in three districts, one of the major problems in areas falling under Pilibhit Tiger Reserve is that there are narrow patches which are only 3 to 5 kms in width. “These narrow patches provide easy access and route to leopards and tigers to enter the human habitat in search of food,” said SK Updhyaya, Chief Wildlife Conservator.The forest department officials have noticed that villages falling under the close vicinity of these low-width narrow patches are more prone to wild beast attack than others. “Majority of attacks took place in these villages in the area,” said Updhyaya.A fear psychosis has prevailed among villagers following spurt in incidence of predator attacks. “We have stopped sleeping outside fearing attack by wild animals. After sunset, no one goes out. Despite complaints, the forest department has done nothing to protect our lives,” said Lakhvinder.The Chief Wildlife Conservator said that the work on solar fencing in an area of about 100 kms has already begin but it will not be that effective since the beast can jump over the fence easily and, moreover, solar fencing will not be effective at night when they chose to enter human habitat.”Taking into account the uneven geographical boundaries of the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve, Tiger Rescue Centre is the only effective solution to check predators entering human population,” claimed the Chief Wildlife Conservator.The state government has already sanctioned Rs 3.5 crore to start work on setting up the Tiger Rescue Centre at the earliest in an area of 10 hectares. It has also sought permission from the Supreme Court and the Central Zoo Authority to develop a Tiger Safari in order to minimize incidents of tiger attacks.The Tiger Rescue Centre will have all facilities to keep 15-20 tigers at a time. It will have team of wildlife experts, a panel of doctors, guards armed with tranqualizing guns, a mini hospital, rest houses, canteen, sheds for keeping tigers etc.”The main aim of this Rescue Centre would be to catch tigers and leopards before they enter villages and keep them at the centre for rehabilitation before setting them free in Tiger Reserve again,” said Updhyaya.There were about 28 tigers in the forest when Pilibhit Tiger Reserve came into existence in 2008. Now the number has increased to well over 50. “We can increase their population further once the Rescue Centre is set up,” claimed the Chief Wildlife Conservator.

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Calfskin painted as Tiger’s found in Jodh

Hunting of wild animals was done mainly in rural areas and the remains and skin of these wild animals were used to be found in these spots, but on Wednesday morning, the skin of a Tiger was found in Amrit Nagar, located in Pal Road area of Jodhpur. When officers of wildlife department examined the skin then It was found that the skin of the calf has been painted and been transformed to make it look like a tiger’s skin.Department officials feared that the business of calf skin being sold as tiger skin is running to make huge money. Tiger’s skins were found lying in a vacant plot at Amrit Nagar, connected to Devnagar Area on Pal road. Mandore Block President of the Congress Environment Cell, Om Saran informed the forest department and police officials about this. The forest department team arrived at the spot and took the skin to the hospital located at Machia Safari Park for confirmation.Wildlife FSL team examined the skin and doctor Shravan Singh revealed that this skin is actually of a calf and it has been transformed into a tiger skin by paint. He said that the price of Tiger’s skin is estimated in the national and international market in millions. Police are investigating the matter.
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Yogi Adityanath

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1993 Mumbai Blast case: SC stays death sentence of convict Mohammed Tahir Merchant

On Monday, the Supreme Court stayed the death sentence of convict Mohammed Tahir Merchant.Tahir Merchant alias Taher Taklya had attended conspiracy meeting in Dubai and motivated his associates to arrange men from Mumbai to set be sent to Pakistan for arms training. He had collected funds to procure arms and planned to set up an illegal arms manufacturing factory in India.Here’s the timeline of 24-year-long case:March 10, 1993 – Yakub Memon and family flees from MumbaiMarch 12, 1993 – Series of powerful blasts rip Mumbai through 13 places killing 257 people and injuring 713March 14, 1993 – The breakthrough in the investigation is achieved with the recovery of an RDX-laden Maruti van registered in the name of Tiger Memon’s sister-in-law.Also read1993 Mumbai serial blasts case: Abu Salem’s family to appeal against court verdict March 18, 1993 – First arrest: Tiger Memon’s manager Asgar Mukadam heldApril 19, 1993 – Sanjay Dutt arrested on his return form from Mauritius on charges of illegal possession of a 9mm pistol and AK-56 rifle and ammunitionAlso read1993 Mumbai blasts: TADA court to pronounce quantum of sentence on Sept 7April 28, 1993 – Dutt confesses about possession of arms and later destroying itMay 5, 1993 – Bombay High Court (HC) grants bail to DuttNovember 4, 1993 – Mumbai crime branch files a 10,000 page charge sheet naming 189 accused, including DuttNovember 19, 1993 – CBI takes over the caseApril 1, 1994 – TADA court shifts from city sessions and civil court to a separate building on the premises of Arthur Road Jail, BycullaApril 10, 1994 – 26 accused discharged by TADA court; charges framed against others. Supreme Court discharges travel agent Abu Asim Azmi and Amjed Meher BauxApril 19, 1994 – Trial beginsJuly 4, 1994 – Trial court cancels Dutt’s bail, arrests himAugust 5, 1994 – CBI claims that Yakub has been arrested from New Delhi, however he claims he willingly gave himself up in Nepal on July 28,1994October 14, 1994 – SC grants bail to Dutt which is later cancelled by the trial court.November 20, 1994 – Dutt takes back his confession.April-June 1995 – Charges framed against accusedJune 30, 1995 – Two accused Mohammed Khatlab and Usman Jan Khan turn approversJune 30, 1995 – First witness of 684 examinedOctober 14, 1995 – Dutt granted bail by SCMarch 23, 1996 – Judge JN Patel transferred and elevated to the Bombay HCMarch 29, 1996 – PD Kode takes over trial from JN PatelJuly 1999 – Yakub writes to India’s SC seeking relief from the case. In his letter, he says he voluntarily returned to India.October 2000 – Examination of 684 prosecution witnesses ends.August 9, 2001 – Prosecution begins arguments.October 18, 2001 – Prosecution completes arguments.November 9, 2001 – Defence begins arguments.August 22, 2002 – Defence completes arguments.Feb-Mar 2003 – Ejaz Pathan and Mustafa Dossa deported from Dubai and court decides to separate gangster Mustafa Dossa’s trial in the case.September 2003 – Trial ends. Court reserves judgement.November 2005 – Abu Salem extradited from Portugal. Trial separated. He is accused of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai.June 13, 2006 – Abu Salem’s trial separatedAugust 10, 2006 – Judge PD Kode announces ‘September 12’ as the judgement day.September 12, 2006 – TADA court pronounced verdict. 4 members of Memon family held guilty.November 2006 – Dutt gets convicted under Arms Act and acquitted uner TADA.May 9, 2007 – Court formally acquits 23 accusedJuly 18, 2007 – First death penalties in the case for Parvez Nazir Shaikh, Mushtaq Tarani and Abdul Gani Turk pronouncedJuly 31, 2007 – Justice PD Kode wraps up the 14 year long case. Dutt six years rigorous imprisonment.August 20, 2007 – Dutt appeals against the sentence, moves to SCNovember 1, 2011 – SC begins hearing on appeals filed by Dutt and 100 other convicts as well as the state.August 29, 2012 – SC reserves its order on the appeals.March 21, 2013 – SC upholds death sentence of convict Yakub Memon, brother of Tiger Memon, and commutes death sentence of 10 convicts to life term. Life imprisonment of 16 of 18 convicts also upheldMay 16, 2013 – Sanjay Dutt surrenders before the TADA court. He is later taken to Arthur Road jail. Four other convicts — Yusuf Nulwalla, Kersi Adajania, Essa Memon, and Altaf Syed — also surrender the same day.May 22, 2013 – Sanjay Dutt is secretly shifted to Yerawada Jail and is given qaidi number C- 16656October 2013 – Yakub Memon apply for presidential pardonApril 11, 2014 – President Pranab Mukherjee rejects Yakub’s mercy plea.May 21, 2014 – The mercy plea of Memon is rejected by President Pranab MukherjeeJune 2, 2014 – The SC stays the execution of Memon on plea seeking review petitions in death cases to be heard in open court instead of chambers.June 19, 2014 – The CBI files a supplementary chargesheet against one of the under-trials, Feroz Rashid Khan, in order to disprove his claim of mistaken identity who claimed that his name was ‘Hamza’ and not Firoz Khan alias Firoz Taklya.July 15, 2014 – The SC reserves its order on the mercy plea of Memon seeking to convert penalty into life termSeptember 26, 2014 – SC stays Memon’s execution and issues notices on his petition seeking an open court hearing of his plea for a review of the death sentenceApril 9, 2015 – SC bench dismisses Yakub’s pleaMay 2015 – Yakub Memon files a curative petition seeking justice against death sentenceJuly 21, 2015 – SC rejects Yakub’s curative petition. He would be hanged on July 30, 2015July 21, 2015 – Yakub then files mercy petition to Maharashtra Governor Ch Vidyasagar Rao. SC rejects Yakub Memon’s petition.July 23, 2015 – Memon moves the SC seeking a stay on the execution of his death sentenceJuly 26, 2015 – 270 eminent personalities including eight leading jurists and nine MPs file a plea before President Pranab Mukherjee seeking mercy and stay against execution of Yakub MemonJuly 28, 2015 – SC refers the petition challenging Yakub’s death warrant to a three member bench following a split verdict by a two-judge benchJuly 29, 2015 – The three member bench rejects Yakub’s plea seeking and upholds the death warrantJuly 30, 2015 – Yakub Memon is hangedFebruary 25, 2016 – Dutt released from Yerwada jail.May 29, 2017 – The TADA court announces June 16 as the date for pronouncement of judgement on trial against Abu Salem and other six accused.June 16, 2017 – TADA court finds Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa and Mohammed Dossa guilty of murder and conspiracy in connection with 1993 Mumbai blast case. The court also convicts Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, and Karimullah Sheikh under charges of conspiracy and murder under sections of IPC, TADA and Explosives Act. The court convicts Tahir Merchant in the case.Dec 12, 2017 – SC stays death sentence of Mohammed Tahir Merchant
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Yogi Adityanath

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J’khand irrigation project gets nod for felling over 3 L trees

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The North Koel irrigation project in Jharkhand that got a renewed push under the NDA government has got an in-principle forest clearance for felling of 3.44 lakh trees and submergence of 1,007.29 hectares of forest inside the Palamau Tiger Reserve. The Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) of the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change recommended the in-principle approval with 14 general and standard conditions that included, among others, compensatory afforestation over double the diverted forest land and at least 1,000 plants per hectare. It also sought strengthening of wildlife corridors connected to the tiger reserve.The project has already received wildlife clearance from the National Board for Wildlife subject to specific conditions that include plans to mitigate adverse impact on wildlife and preparation of a wildlife management plan.The Palamau Tiger Reserve is the lone reserve in Jharkhand under Project Tiger and has seen its tiger population dwindle from 42 in 2005 to three in recent times. Local activists have raised concerns that the renewed push for completion of the project would lead to yet another round of displacement of tribals. Meanwhile, conservationists have cautioned that the submergence and loss of biodiversity could affect the long-term sustainability of the forest. According to official records, the Kutku range is currently home to wild boars, barking deer, golden jackals, elephants, bears and tigers that are seen there occasionally.Work on the irrigation project had first commenced in 1970s and got a fresh push from the Prime Minister’s Office and Ministry of Water Resources in 2015. The project was to originally submerge part of the tiger reserve’s core. But, in a meeting in August 2016 held under the chairmanship of PMO principal secretary Nripendra Misra and Jharkhand and Bihar governments, it was decided to reduce the project dam’s full reservoir level.The North Koel project was sanctioned at a cost of Rs 30 crore. Till now, Rs 780 crore has been spent to complete construction of a dam over North Koel river in Latehar district and a barrage in Palamu district. The project, though, is not yet fully operational as the dam gates have not been installed. At present, this partially completed project is irrigating 56,000 hectare of land in Bihar and Jharkhand during Kharif season.

Save our tigers, Cambodia tells India

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>With an eye on reviving their extinct tiger population, a high-level delegation of the Cambodian government made a two-day visit to Panna Tiger Reserve, Madhya Pradesh, in October end to study its successful tiger reintroduction programme.Cambodia’s population of Indochinese tigers has become functionally extinct, with no breeding population left, the World Wildlife Fund (WWF) had declared in April 2016. The south-east Asian country is currently looking to rope in India as partner to seek technical cooperation in their still nascent project to revive tigers, hence this visit assumes significance.Following the visit, the Cambodian government may soon write to the Ministry of Environment, Forest and Climate Change, seeking technical co-operation.The high-level delegation of 18 comprised among others, Svay Sam Eang, Governor of Mondulkiri province, ministers of tourism and environment, and top forest department officials. The visit came close on the heels of an Indian delegation’s visit to Mondulkiri forests in September. The Mondulkiri province in the eastern plains landscape of Cambodia is home to a vast forest expanse of 4,249 sq km, which was the last place tigers were seen in the country.According to officials from PTR, the Cambodian delegation was taken around various ranges of the Panna forest and were introduced to functioning of ground staff and monitoring of radio-collared tigers. There are 11 radio collared tigers in Panna and the PTR staff tries to track most of them on a daily basis using radiotelemetry equipment.”They wanted to see first-hand the landscape of Panna and specifically how our staff works round the clock to monitor tigers inside PTR. I believe they took away a lot from their visit on the professionalism of forest staff since their conservation is largely drive by non-profit organisations,” said SP Yadav, assistant secretary general, Global Tiger Forum, an intergovernmental international organisation.After a near wipeout of Panna’s tigers in 2009, a first-of-its kind tiger reintroduction programme was started. This involved translocation of female tigers from Kanha and Bandhavgarh to Panna. Today, there are 26 adult tigers in PTR.The delegation was also informed about the camera-trap monitoring methods that help in maintaining a photographic database of individual tigers inside PTR. “We have nearly 200 camera traps across the 542 sq km of the reserve. Along with the reintroduction programme, informing them about how we are sustaining the population was of equal interest to them,” said Vivek Jain, field director, PTR.Independent experts said the Cambodian delegation’s visit was a step in the right direction, irrespective of whether the south-east Asian country requires India to share a tiger for repopulating their forests. “Since Panna and Mondulkiri share a similar latitude, it was a positive step to assess our landscape. They need to first focus on setting their house in order in terms of establishing proper prey-base, which is low right now,” said K Ramesh, scientist, Wildlife Institute of India.A 2013 WWF study on tiger reintroduction in Cambodia stated that though Malayan and Amur tigers are closest genetic relatives of Indochinese tigers, their habitat and prey base do not match. Moreover, the Bengal tiger shares similar habitat and prey assemblage to Cambodia’s tigers, which made India and Nepal ideal to source tigers from.Tracking big catsThe Cambodian delegation was taken around the Panna forest and introduced to monitoring of radio-collared tigers. There are 11 radio-collared tigers in Panna and the staff tries to track most of them using radiotelemetry equipment.

1993 Mumbai serial blasts case: Here’s a look at the deadly role played by the 6 convicts

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The special Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act court on Thursday sentenced convicts Feroz Khan and Tahir Merchant to death in the 1993 Mumbai blasts case. Further, convicts Abu Salem and Karimullah Khan were sentenced to life imprisonment, while Riyaz Siddiqui was sentenced to 10 years in jail. Another prime accused Mustafa Dossa, passed away a few days after his conviction. ALSO READ 1993 Mumbai blasts case: Abu Salem, Karimullah Khan get life term; Tahir Merchant, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan awarded death sentenceHere’s a look at the role each of them played in the deadly 1993 Mumbai blasts which claimed the lives of 257 people and left over 700 injured.These were the observations of Special Judge G A Sanap’s about roles of six convicts.FIROZ ABDUL RASHID KHAN: The court rejected his defence that he was not Firoz Khan but one `Hamza.’ The prosecution proved that he was a prominent and “trusted” member of the Dossa gang, and participated in all the “landings” of weapons effected by Dossa brothers in Raigad district.Firoz was present for negotiations with customs officers for smooth landing of arms and ammunition. He, with “vengeful perseverance in his sinew with a view to carry the blueprint of the plan into reality spearheaded the pre-landing arrangements.”Prosecution has proved that he was one of the main conspirators, the judge held.TAHIR MERCHANT:The court held that Tahir too was amongst the main conspirators.”The evidence proves the anguish, agitation and frustration expressed by Tahir due to situation prevailing in Bombay during the period of riots in January 1993,” it noted.He worked with (absconding conspirator) Tiger Memon, participated in several conspiracy meetings in Dubai. Tahir made travel arrangements, financed the stay and travel of several co-accused and facilitated their training in Pakistan, the court noted.”The role of Tahir in conspiracy is prominent. He is one of the initiators of the conspiracy,” said the judge.ABU SALEM The court held that prosecution has proved that Salem was one of the main conspirators and he delivered three AK-56 rifles and ammunition and hand grenades to the actor Sanjay Dutt (convicted in earlier phase of trial under the Arms Act).Salem, who was close to (Dawood’s brother) Anees Ibrahim and Dossa, took upon of himself to bring a part of arms and ammunitions from Dighi to Mumbai, the court said.This was “vital towards achievement of the conspiracy so that the weapons could be used to terrorise and torment innocent citizens of India,” the court said.KARIMULLA KHAN:The court held that he was “number two” in (convict) Ejaz Pathan’s gang.Karimulla was present in meetings between Tiger Memon and Ejaz Pathan where “Tiger told them about the sufferings of Muslims… and the arrangement to be made for the landing of arms at Shekadi (beach) to take revenge against the government and the Hindus,” the judge said.Karimullah had knowledge of conspiracy, he helped in landing of arms and ammunition at Shekadi beach, and knew that Tiger Memon had arranged weapon training in Pakistan.RIYAZ SIDDIQUI:The court held that prosecution failed to prove the charge of conspiracy against him. He was convicted under TADA for helping Salem and others in transportation of arms.MUSTAFA DOSSAThe court held that Dossa “actively, wilfully, deliberately and consciously” participated in the first meeting (held at residence of his elder brother Mohammed Dossa in Dubai) “which gave birth to the original design of the heinous criminal conspiracy to take revenge against the Government and the Hindus” for demolition of Babri Masjid.”For achieving the object of the conspiracy he took the first step and sent arms and ammunition from Dubai and Pakistan to Dighi (in Raigad district) on January 9, 1993,” the court said.The two Dossa brothers made travel arrangements for the co-accused Feroz Khan and others to travel to Dubai and their stay. At the behest of (absconding accused) Dawood Ibrahim, Mustafa made arrangement for co-accused’s travel to Pakistan for terror training, the court noted.Dossa also gave some of the AK-56 rifles, which landed at Dighi, to (absconding conspirator) Tiger Memon. These weapons were used to impart training to several co-accused. The plan was to use these rifles to open fire at Mumbai civic body’s (BMC) headquarters and other places to kill political leaders and senior police officials, the court said.(With Agency Inputs)

82 animals, including 7 rhinos died in floods in Kaziranga:

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As many as 89 animals, including seven rhinoceros, have died due to the flooding in the Kaziranga National Park in Assam, the government told Parliament today. The Assam floods have affected the Kaziranga National Park. Seven rhinos, 82 hog deer, and two sambar deer have have died in the flooding, Environment Minister Harsh Vardhan said in a written reply. The floods have so far claimed over 70 lives in the northeastern state. Over 25 lakh people bore the brunt of the flooding in 29 districts. The administration set up 1,098 relief camps and distribution centres in the state. Vardhan said that based on Annual Plan of Operations submitted by tiger reserves, the government provides funds to them under the centrally-sponsored scheme ‘Project Tiger’ through the National Tiger Conservation Authority. The funds are used for various activities, including for measures to address flood situation such as creation of highlands and preventive structures against erosion, boats, rescue of animals, desiltation and creation of road network etc, he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Tiger reserves get more teeth to curb poaching

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Tiger reserves across the country will now be audited for their security preparedness to tackle poaching and protect forests. A new set of protocols have been released that tiger reserve administrations would have to adhere to.Independent teams constituted by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) would then carry out field visits to assess the deficiencies on ground and eventually draw up a targetted security plan, along with the tiger reserve administration.The environment ministry and NTCA unveiled protocols for the audit on the occasion of the International Tiger Day on Saturday. The security audit will broadly require tiger reserves to list out the biggest threats to their protected area in the short term and long term, the strength of staff, both trained and untrained, their patrolling exercises, amenities they possess to patrol and even the resources at their disposal to investigate poaching.Once the tiger reserves submit the details, an independent field assessment would follow. The audit protocols were unveiled on the back of a pilot study NTCA carried out in Kanha tiger reserve in Madhya Pradesh and Satkosia tiger reserve, Odisha, in January to test the suitability of benchmarks.NTCA officials said the availability of firearms with forest foresters in combating poaching would form a crucial aspect of the audit. In only select states of the country, such as Assam and Uttar Pradesh, forest guards have limited immunity under sections of the CrPC to combat poaching rings. “In states such as Bihar, forest department does not have any firearms to deal with poachers in protected areas. Many states have written to NTCA to give forest staff a status equal to police for combating poachers,” a senior NTCA official said.The protocols have been developed at a time when the poaching still remains one of the biggest drivers of tiger mortality in the country’s 50 tiger reserves. So far in 2017, NTCA has reported 15 cases of poaching, including cases of seizures of tiger body parts whereas non-profit organisation Wildlife Protection Society of India recorded 22 poaching cases.The audit, modelled on the global practices that is also actively used in most South-East Asian tiger bearing countries, was developed in collaboration with the Global Tiger Forum and the World Wildlife Fund.

Intern’l Tiger Day gives call for saving habitat for big cats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Children dressed as tigers assembled at the Alipore Zoological Garden here as part of a programme to observe the International Tiger Day today. The children, drawn from city schools, went around the zoo with some of them holding placards and posed before cages urging the elders not to disturb the animals. In a city book store, a photography exhibition capturing tigers in Sunderbans and other parts of the country and the world was held with a message to help saving the animal and stop poaching. The exhibition was graced by veteran actor and wild life enthusiast Sabyasachi Chakraborty among others. Sand artiste Sudarshan Pattnaik, Odisha Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, actor Dia Mirza were among those who took to twitter to spread the call for ‘save our tigers by protecting their habitat’. To create awareness about saving tigers, International Tiger Day had been founded at the St Petersburg Tiger Summit in 2010. Altogether 13 countries where tigers are found took part in that summit.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

GST to make your tiger sighting costly at Ranthambhore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>If you are hoping to visit Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve once the park opens after the monsoon season, you will have to be ready to shell out more money than you did previously. With the Goods and Service Tax (GST) coming into existence, the charge per person for the park is all set to be increased. The forest department is working towards the same and interestingly, it is bringing a new guideline.If an online booking is cancelled within one month from the time of booking, the forest department would keep the entire amount while if cancellation is done before one month, fifty per cent of the amount would be returned, a move that is being seen to remove the middlemen.Since the main areas of the park are closed currently for monsoon and is set to open from October 1, the online bookings will be opened from August 10 onwards. “In the new tariff, per person rate for canter would cost around Rs567 while per person rate for gypsy car drive would come around Rs985. This includes the GST,” informed YK Sahu, Conservator, RTR.Interestingly, sources reveal that the forest department is aiming to remove middlemen who had made huge profits by booking and cancelling the safari tickets.“Previously 75 per cent bookings were done online while remaining 25 per cent were done on the spot. However, in the new system, if a booking is done in advance and the same is cancelled, a cancellation charge of fifty per cent of booking amount would be levied. However, if the booking is cancelled, in a span of one month before the safari date, the entire amount will be taken as cancellation charge and no refund would be made,” informed Mangal Singh, ACF ( Tourism), RTR.Sources reveal that move is aimed to weed out middlemen that used to book tickets in advance. “Earlier, when you cancelled a booking, no charge was levied, thus there were instances when seats were booked online using proper identity documents but cancelled one or two days before their turn. Since till the last minute there were no seats available, naturally they could target visitors and charge any amount that they please.

DNA Morning Must Reads: Updates on Sikkim stand-off, Reliance Jio customers’ info exposed, Salman Khan on ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’, and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>1. Sikkim stand-off: Indian Army readies for a long haul in Doklam, pitches in tentsIndia has begun consolidating its position for a “long haul” by pitching tents and getting additional troops and supplies at the standoff point with Chinese troops in Doklam area near the Bhutan tri-junction. Read more here2. Over 12 crore Reliance Jio customers’ info exposed, company says data ‘unauthentic’After a report emerging earlier this year of 135 million Aadhaar numbers going public, it now appears that data of 120 million Reliance Jio customers could be exposed. Read more here3. DNA Exclusive: ArcelorMittal, Essar Steel Minnesota to settle $1 billion US disputeBillionaire Lakshmi Mittal-controlled steel giant ArcelorMittal has made concessions to beleaguered Essar Steel in the US. Read more here4. Indian football on right track: Coach ConstantineWith the Indian football team having climbed four places to No. 96 in the FIFA World Rankings released last Thursday — the country’s best in 21 years — it has given football fans in the country a reason to celebrate. Read more here5. Salman Khan’s ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ is inspired by a true storySalman Khan is readying for the release of his next film Tiger Zinda Hai. He returns in an avatar that his fans adore — that of a larger-than-life hero, performing thrilling stunts, flaunting muscles and wooing Katrina Kaif. Read more here

1993 blasts accused arrested in Bijnore

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A Mumbai serial blasts accused was nabbed from his native town, Nazibabad in Bijnore, on Saturday, 24 years after the bombings claimed nearly 300 lives. The operation was jointly led by the Uttar Pradesh Anti-Terrorist Squad (ATS) and the Gujarat Police.Accused Qadeer Ahmed was reportedly the main conduit of Tiger Memon to offload arms and explosives at Jamnagar in Gujarat. He was later booked under the stringent Terrorist and Disruptive Activities (Prevention) Act (TADA). Ahmed had been on the run since 1993 and was hiding in the district under different identities.UP ATS IG Aseem Arun said: “Ahmed was instrumental in getting the arms and explosives for the serial blasts offloaded at Jamnagar in Gujarat.”Acting on a tip-off by the Gujarat Police, a team of UP ATS, led Vishwajeet Singh, succeeded in locating Ahmed in Nazibabad. During interrogation, he admitted to his role in offloading the cache.

Tigers are back in Panna, and becoming social media stars

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Motorists driving on Panna-Katni highway in Madhya Pradesh were treated to a wondrous sight of three tigers sauntering out of the Panna Tiger Reserve’s core area yesterday morning. Wildlife lovers in the country were shocked in 2009 when it came to light that not a single tiger had been left in the Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR); most of them had fallen prey to poaching. The Madhya Pradesh government then started a program under which tigers from Bandhavgarh and other sanctuaries in the state were relocated to Panna reserve. Population of the big cat in PTR has steadily grown since. A video of three tigers crossing the road, shot by a passer-by near Bandikala village on Panna-Katni highway yesterday morning, went viral on social media today. PTR field director Vivek Jain said the group consisted of a tigress and her one-and-a-half years old cubs who were moving from the core area to the buffer zone. “A tigress generally takes her cubs out to other areas when they grow up. At the age of around two-and-a-half years, tigers create their own territory. These cubs are now entering this age,” Jain said. The number of tigers in PTR has risen to 35 after the reintroduction programme was launched in 2009. Tiger conservationist Ajay Dubey however expressed his concern over the outward movement of tigers. “During the monsoon, tigers come out in open from the deep forest. Therefore forest officials need to be vigilant about tigers’ safety. PTR had once lost all its tigers to poaching,” he said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Books lack regulatory mechanism, say publishers

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the government has taken out all books from the ambit of its proposed new bill governing newspapers and other publications, publishers say a regulation or registration mechanism in place for books has always been lacking.DNA has recently reported about the government’s decision to scrap the colonial 150-year-old archaic Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 and put in place a fresh Registration of Newspapers and Publications Bill, 2017, that would not cover books and printing presses, but would have provisions to take action against paid news.Several publishers told DNA that even when books were under the ambit of the PRB Act, they were not exactly regulated.Ananth Padmanabhan, CEO of HarperCollins told DNA that the books industry is not governed by any regulatory mechanism.”There has never been any regulatory mechanism for books. For selling books, the International Standard Book Number (ISBN) has to be obtained, but that is again a difficult and a tedious process and more of a record-keeping mechanism,” Padmanabhan said.”If there are issues related to publishing, they can be brought to the notice of the publishers’ association,” he added.Ravi Singh, publisher and co-founder of Speaking Tiger books, a relatively new publishing house, however, said making books exempt from the bill is a good move.”Books have always been free from all regulations and rightly so,” he said, emphasising that getting ISBN for books have been a problem for most publishers lately.As per new ruleThe government had recently scrapped the colonial 150-year-old archaic Press and Registration of Books Act, 1867 and put in place a fresh Registration of Newspapers and Publications Bill, 2017, that would not cover books and printing presses, but would have provisions to take action against paid news.

Residents seek protection for cattle from tiger attacks

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>: Residents of Binapuram tribal settlement in Thalawady forest area in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve have sought protection for their cattle after a bull was killed by a tiger, the second such instance in the past 10 days. According to Forest department officials, Saravanan, a farmer was rearing nine cows and bulls at Binapuram tribal settlement yesterday when the tiger attacked the animals, killing one while the rest raised an alarm and ran away. A group of villagers, after hearing the noise of the cattle, rushed to the spot and managed to scare the tiger away. The farmer informed the Thalawady forest officials, who rushed to spot and examined the dead cow and noticed footprints of the tiger. The villagers told the Forest officials that this was the second instance of a tiger killing bulls and a goat in the last 10 days and sought protection for the cattle.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Narada tapes case: CBI confronts IPS officer Mirza with Tiger

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The CBI today confronted IPS officer SMH Mirza with alleged middleman ‘Tiger’ in connection with its probe into the Narada sting operation. The Narada tapes, which were released before the 2016 assembly elections in West Bengal, allegedly showed several Trinamool Congress MLAs and MPs accepting money in exchange for favours from investigative journalist Mathew Samuels, who posed as a businessman interested in making some investments in West Bengal. Mirza, who was allegedly seen in one of the tapes, was yesterday also questioned by the agency for nearly seven hours, CBI sources said. The Calcutta High Court had in March ordered the CBI to conduct a preliminary probe into the Narada sting operation A division bench of the court had also directed the state government to initiate disciplinary action against Mirza.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Spotted! Four cubs at Ranthambhore tiger reserve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Ranthambhore tiger reserve is fast becoming a nursery for tigers, with over a dozen tiger cubs, ranging from newborns to two-year-old cubs. On Friday morning, another set of cubs were seen in Semli area of the park, which has further increased the count of the big cats in Ranthambhore by four tigers. This is a rare occurrence and therefore an occasion for celebration for forest officials in Rajasthan. “During the morning drive today, tigress T-19 was seen with four cubs in the Semli – Berda region of the park. It was known for a long time that the tigress has delivered a litter, but we did not know the exact number of cubs. Few tourists in a canter sighted the feline and her cubs and reported it to the authorities,” said Sanjay Sharma, ACF – Ranthambhore Tiger Reserve. The officials are now getting the images of camera traps in the area. As of now, Ranthambhore is home to more than 60 tigers. The forest officials are already working out ways to sustain the cat population in the reserve which is far more than its capacity. With four more cubs added to the count, the wildlife department in Rajasthan has a task on its hands to ensure enough prey base for all the cats and keep them from hurting or isolating each other over territorial fights.

1993 Mumbai serial blasts case verdict: 24 years later, Abu Salem and 5 others convicted by TADA court

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Key mastermind of the 1993 Mumbai blasts case Mustafa Dossa and extradited gangster Abu Salem were on Friday convicted by a special TADA court here. Another accused who were convicted include Firoz Khan, Tahir Merchant, Karimullah Shaikh, Riaz Siddiqui, while Abdul Qayyum was acquitted of all charges.Dossa was convicted on charges of conspiracy and murder under various sections of the IPC besides offences under the TADA Act, the Arms Act and the Explosives Act.Salem was found guilty of transporting weapons from Gujarat to Mumbai ahead of the blasts. He had also handed over to actor Sanjay Dutt– who was an accused in the case for illegally possessing weapons– AK 56 rifles, 250 rounds and some hand grenades at his residence on January 16, 1993. Two days later on January 18, 1993 Salem and two others went to Dutt’s house and got back two rifles and some rounds.Earlier, the court had dropped certain charges against Salem in 2013 after the investigating agency –CBI– moved a plea, saying those charges were against the extradition treaty between India and Portugal.Dossa allegedly masterminded the landing of explosives including RDX in India and sent some youth to Pakistan to acquire arms training to execute the blasts.The dastardly attacks had left 257 dead, 713 persons seriously injured and destroyed properties worth Rs 27 crore.In the first leg of the trial that concluded in 2007, the TADA court had convicted 100 accused in the case, while 23 persons were acquitted.The trial of the seven accused — Abu Salem, Mustafa Dossa, Karimullah Khan, Firoz Abdul Rashid Khan, Riyaz Siddiqui, Tahir Merchant and Abdul Quayyum — were separated from the main case as they were arrested at the time of conclusion of the main trial.The blasts took place at Bombay Stock Exchange, Katha Bazaar, Lucky petrol pump near Sena Bhavan, opposite Passport office near Century Bazaar, Fishermen’s colony at Mahim Causeway, at basement of Air India Building, Zaveri Bazaar, Hotel Sea Rock, Plaza Theatre, Centaur Hotel (Juhu), Sahar Airport (Bay no.54) and Centaur Hotel (near airport).This was the first-ever terrorist attack in the world in which RDX (Research Department Explosive i.e cyclotrimethylene trinitramine) was used on such a large-scale after the Second World War.According to the prosecution, in order to avenge the demolition of Babri Masjid, members of the crime syndicate under the fugitive don Dawood Ibrahim along with other absconding accused Tiger Memon, Mohammed Dossa and Mustafa Dossa hatched a conspiracy to commit terrorist acts in India.The prosecution said that the object of the crime was to commit terrorist acts with an intent to overawe the Government of India, to strike terror on the people, alienate section of the people and to harm the communal harmony.It said that the conspirators smuggled fire-arms, ammunitions, detonators, hand grenades and highly explosive substances like RDX into India and stored it.According to the prosecution, Mustafa Dossa, Tiger Memon and Chhota Shakeel organised training camps in Pakistan and in India to impart and undergo weapon and arms training and handling of explosives. They also sent men from India to Pakistan via Dubai for arms training.The prosecution also said that the conspirators held 15 meetings before the execution of the blasts.

Ramesh’s book on the naturalist in Indira Gandhi launched

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Though she is remembered as a tough, no-nonsense politician, a relatively lesser known trait of Indira Gandhi – the naturalist in her – came to the fore at the launch of a book on the late prime minister today. The book “Indira Gandhi – A life in Nature”, was launched by Congress president Sonia Gandhi at the Indira Gandhi Memorial in the presence of former ministers, bureaucrats and environmentalists who worked closely with her to frame some of country’s landmarks wildlife and environment laws. Renowned mountaineer Capt Manmohan Singh Kohli recalled how Gandhi once told him “please call me as a daughter of the mountains”. Former Union minister Jairam Ramesh, who has authored the book published by Simon & Schuster, presented the first copy of the book to the Congress President, besides to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, former minister Karan Singh and Priyanka Gandhi. In her brief speech, Sonia recalled how her mother-in-law would spend hours in Delhi’s famous Nehru Park while it was being landscaped in the early 1960s to plan clusters of trees and flowers to be planted there. “I remember when the Nehru Park was being landscaped, every Sunday, Mrs Gandhi with her best friend Padmaja Naidu would go there and spend time there. “She used to go there and sit there for at least two hours in the late 1960s and deliberate on which cluster of trees would be planted and where and which flowers should be there to ensure that there is continuity of flowering there,” she said at the launch. “I am sure this will be very well received and will be a great success,” she said, adding that it will kindle love for nature especially the young. Ramesh also highlighted how the former prime minister brought the Project Lion first and then ‘Project Tiger’ for conservation of the big cats. Karan Singh recalled how Indira Gandhi first made lion the national animal and four years later got it changed to the Tiger. Ramesh said the book would be made available in a number of languages including Hindi, Malayali, Kannada and some others. The book brings out some of the unpublished works sourced through archives and personal sources material that highlighted the unexplored aspect of Indira Gandhi’s life her love for nature. The book showcases how Indira Gandhi led India to the path of conservation and made it a priority of economic development. Ramesh weaves personal, political and environmental history to narrate the compelling story of Indira Gandhi, the naturalist who used her instincts and beliefs to draft landmark policies and laws on wildlife and forests and shape institutions that have endured. The 488-page book was launched to mark the birth centennial year of the former Prime Minister.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Dead tiger cub found floating at Talodi

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The state forest department recovered the carcass of a tiger cub at Talodi near Chandrapur district on Thursday. The district, which accounts for a significant tiger population in Maharashtra, also saw an incident of man-animal conflict with a leopard injuring five people.Since April 1, the Tadoba-Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) and the neighbouring Chandrapur territorial circle saw eight people being killed in tiger and bear attacks. This indicates a rise in man-animal conflict as human population and numbers of tigers and wild animals are both increasing.A forest department official said they found the body of a two-month-old tiger cub floating in a pond near Govindpur in the Brahmapuri forest division. “This seems to be a natural death as the body parts are intact,” the official said. However, he added a post-mortem will be conducted.In another incident, the official added, a leopard had attacked and injured five people at Manemohadi near Talodi. “We have sealed one side of a pipe in which the leopard is hiding, and have kept a trap at the other side to catch him. However, the crowd outside is huge which has led to the leopard refusing to come out,” he explained.Three of the injured in the incident, Giridhar Mundhare (45), Vikas Jiwtode (35) and Daulat Dhadse (55) have been sent for medical treatment to Chandrapur city and two of the victims, whose injuries are minor, are being treated at a local hospital.The TATR and Chandrapur territorial area have a healthy tiger populatiob. According to last year’s camera trapping exercise, there are 61 and 43 tigers respectively, the highest in Maharashtra. Officials admit that this has caused ‘overpopulation’ and thus, conflict.Maharashtra tiger population was around 190 in 2014, up from 169 in 2010. The tiger census results, released in 2014, said India has 2,226 tigers, up from 1,706 in 2010.The state has six tiger reserves — Pench, Tadoba- Andhari, Melghat, Navegaon-Nagzira, Sahyadri, Bor and Navegaon-Nagzira.IN SHORTThe cub that was found was only two-months old, according to forest department officials.
Officials said the cub died naturally as the body was intact.
In another incident, a leopard had attacked five people. Of the five injured, three were sent to nearest city hospital.

Man killed by panther in Rajaji Tiger Reserve area in U’khand

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 45-year-old man was mauled to death allegedly by a panther in a forest area of Rajaji Tiger Reserve between Rishikesh and Haridwar, officials said today. The body was found in a disfigured condition yesterday in Motichur Range of the forest adjoining a road stretch leading to Raiwala, about 2 km from the Motichur railway crossing. Superintendent of Police (Rural) Shweta Chaubey said the body is yet to be identified. Rs 1600, some religious books besides two trousers and a shirt were found from a bag which was recovered from near the body, she said. However, no document was found from the bag which could help establish the man’s identity, the official said. This is the second case of human killing by panther in the area in last six months. The tiger reserve spans over an area of 1075 sq km which includes Rajaji, Motichur and Chilla wildlife sanctuaries, parts of Dehradun, Shiwalik and Lansdowne forest divisions.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Four held for poisoning tiger, bison to death in TN

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Four persons have been arrested for allegedly poisoning to death a wild bison and using it as a bait to kill a tiger in Sathyamangalam Tiger Reserve in the district, forest officials said today. The arrests were made based on a tip-off yesterday, they said. First the officials recovered the carcass of a bison in Thalamalai forest range and conducted an autopsy, which revealed that it had died due to poisoning. Subsequently, four persons of Bejelatty village were picked up in this connection. During interrogation, the accused confessed to having poisoned the bison, which was later consumed by the 8-year-old male tiger, forest officials said. The gang harvested the canine and claws of the man-eater that died after feeding on the dead bison. A search is on for remaining five involved in the crime, officials added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

MP govt to check crop damage around Bandhavgarh tiger reserve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Madhya Pradesh government will take steps to check the damage caused by animals to farmers’ crops in the vicinity of Bandhavgarh tiger reserve in Umaria district. “State Agriculture Minister Gaurishankar Bisen has issued directives to the officials of his department to prepare a plan to check the crop damage. The plan would cost around Rs 20 crore,” a Public Relations department official said today. During the minister’s visit to Umaria last month, the farmers had complained to him about the damage caused to crops by the animals. “A detailed project report of the plan would be prepared jointly by three government departments, including agriculture, forest and revenue. Fences and nets would be erected to protect the crops of the farmers,” the official said. The Bandhavgarh Tiger Reserve in MP is spread across an area of 105 sq km.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

DNA Morning Must Reads: Yogi Adityanath orders inquiry into Akhilesh Yadav’s key projects, Colombia mudslides kill 206; and more

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Yogi Adityanath orders inquiry into Akhilesh Yadav’s key projectsNot only has Adityanath reviewed projects of the previous regime, he has also ordered an inquiry into four dream projects of the Akhilesh Yadav regime. Read more here.Colombia mudslides kill 206, sweep away homesMudslides killed at least 206 people and left hundreds injured or missing after destroying homes in southern Colombia, officials have said. Read more here.Ties with China not at India’s expense: Sri Lanka PM Ranil WickremesingheSri Lanka’s Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe spoke to WION’S Padma Rao Sundarji in an exclusive interview. Read excerpts here.PM Modi to inaugurate India’s longest tunnel on Jammu-Srinagar Highway today; Here’s all you need to knowAmid high alert and multi-tiered security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will inaugurate India’s longest road tunnel on the Jammu-Srinagar National Highway on Sunday, making it operational for traffic. Read more here. Salman Khan-Katrina Kaif’s ‘Tiger Zinda Hai’ is the biggest Bollywood film in TirolAli Abbas Zafar recently completed the first schedule of Tiger Zinda Hai in Tirol with a romantic song (among its snow-capped mountains and small, quaint villages) picturised on Salman Khan and Katrina Kaif and some action scenes. Read more here.

NH-12 widening near Panna Reserve cleared

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After paving the way for the Ken-Betwa river linking project inside Panna Tiger Reserve (PTR), the National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has now permitted the diversion of 40 hectares of forest from Nauradehi wildlife sanctuary, which is to be added as part of PTR in lieu of loss of core forest land.The NBWL has granted permission to divert forest from the sanctuary for the widening of National Highway-12 from its the current two-lane to four-lane, according to minutes of NBWL meeting.Ironically, even as the project falls inside the sanctuary, during the meeting, the Chief wildlife Warden of Madhya Pradesh Jitendra Agarwal said that the area does not form part of any corridor and is located south of Nauradehi sanctuary. The NBWL cleared the project, “considering the utility of the widening in decongesting the traffic flow.”At its previous meeting in January, Agarwal had prescribed mitigation measures such as animal underpasses, chain-link fencing, artificial water bodies and other conditions. The NBWL had also sought comments of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), since the sanctuary is going to be a part of PTR.It was the Wildlife Institute of India (WII), Dehradun, that had first suggested that four wildlife sanctuaries, two each from Madhya Pradesh and Uttar Pradesh, should be added to the Panna Tiger Reserve, to compensate for the vast forest that will be submerged under the river linking project.While granting wildlife clearance, the NBWL accepted this proposal to add Nauradehi, Rani Durgavati and Ranipur and Mahavir Swami wildlife sanctuaries to Panna.Besides clearing the highway widening project, the NBWL is also considering a stone mining project six km away from the Panna Tiger Reserve.Independent member of NBWL R Sukumar said that no mining should be permitted in the additional area to be added to Panna Tiger Reserve in lieu of the core area to be diverted for Ken-Betwa river linking project.NTCA also pointed out that the mine location has not been ascertained yet. The board has now asked NTCA and Wildlife Institute of India to the verify location of the mine and submit a report in a month’s time.

Live grenade found outside militant’s house, defused

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A live grenade was today found outside the house of a suspected local militant in Pulwama district of south Kashmir. The grenade was found in front of the house of Hizbul Mujahideen militant Sameer alias Tiger at Drabgam in Pulwama, a police official claimed. A bomb disposal squad was rushed to the spot and the grenade was defused, he said, adding there was no damage caused by the controlled explosion.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Forest department places two cages with baits to catch tiger

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The forest department today set up two cages with baits to catch a tiger on the prowl at Sukla village, close to the buffer zone of Pench Tiger Reserve, near here. “We today placed two cages with baits to capture the big cat that has killed a number of cattle in last two months in Sukla village, some 35 km from district headquarters,” Seoni South Divisional Forest Officer TC Suliya told(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Bad year for tigers? 21 big cats dead in 65 days of 2017

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The number of Indian tigers had hit an all time low of 1,411 in 2006, however the estimated tiger population in India had drastically improved to 2,226 in 2014.Now, according to a Mid-Day report, a data compiled by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) indicates that 2017 could again be a bad year for India’s tigers. In the first 65 days of 2017, 21 tiger deaths have been reported.The numbers uploaded on Tigernet revealed that 19 tigers had died in the corresponding period last year. The overall figures for 2016 are alarming as well – 99 tiger deaths, the highest figure in the last six years. This was a drastic rise as the year-wise tiger death toll from 2012 to 2015 was 72, 63, 66, 70 respectively.The report said that of the 99 deaths in 2016, 21 tigers had died of natural causes, 12 died in territorial fights, five were poisoned, one tiger died in an accident, one drowned, two were killed in man-animal conflicts and two were electrocuted and poached. While of the 21 tiger deaths this year, three were caused during territorial fights, one by electrocution and one died of natural causes while the cause of 16 deaths is yet to be ascertained.MoS Environment Anil Madhav Dave in a written reply in Rajya Sabha during the Winter Session last year had informed that tiger deaths have registered an increase of 25% in 2016. He said instances of poaching had doubled too. Jharkhand’s tiger population had also gone down from 10 to 3. The total number of tigers across 44 tiger reserves in India was 1,586 in 2016. (With PTI inputs)

BBC banned from tiger reserves

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>In an unprecedented step, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has banned the British Broadcasting Corporation (BBC) and its South Asia Correspondent Justin Rowlatt from filming across any tiger reserves in India for “breach of trust” during the shoot of its controversial documentary on Kaziranga Tiger Reserve. It has also advised the External Affairs Ministry to revoke the visa issued to Rowlatt and his crew and take “appropriate action to prevent their further entry into India, for a period of not less than five years”.DNA has reviewed a copy of NTCA’s order banning BBC, in which NTCA recommended the Environment Ministry’s wildlife wing to disallow BBC from filming in any protected areas of the country for five years.The action against BBC and its correspondent comes two weeks after NTCA served them a show-cause notice for allegedly portraying Kaziranga’s policy of shooting poachers in a very negative light. BBC’s story and documentary titled Kaziranga: The park that shoots people to protect rhinos kicked up a major stir for alleging that the park’s policy has resulted in human rights violations.To counter the threat of armed poachers, the Assam government has provided immunity to Kaziranga’s forest guards under section 197 of the Code of Criminal Procedure. “After viewing BBC’s documentary, we sent a report to the Assam government, and recommended that BBC should be debarred from filming in tiger reserves in the future. The final documentary was entirely different from the subject they had provided while seeking permissions,” said Satyendra Singh, Field Director, Kaziranga Tiger Reserve.Earlier, NTCA’s notice on February 13 had said that BBC provided a false synopsis on its filming plan with “surreptitious malintent of obtaining permission from relevant authorities”. “The producer has used spasmodic events as an umbrella to judge a gamut of conservation efforts that go into safeguarding our wildlife heritage, with scant understanding of the laws in place. The immunity provided to forest officials under Section 197 of the CrPC has been construed as a shoot-to-kill policy,” the NTCA’s show-cause said. In his defence, Rowlatt told NTCA on February 14 that there was no attempt to deceive anyone during the filming and that BBC did not refer to the park’s conservation strategy as shoot to kill at any time. He added that as a professional journalist, he was obliged to find out more about the circumstances of the deaths (killing of suspected poachers).“It quickly became clear that Kaziranga’s policing of poaching is a matter of intense debate both in the communities around the park and within the conservation movement more generally,” said Rowlatt.Rowlatt also said that despite desiring to reflect the official position on use of armed forces in Kaziranga, Union Environment Minister Anil Dave, Assam Forest Minister Pramila Rani Brahma, NTCA head BS Bonal and Assam’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest Bikash Brahma did not respond to interview requests. DNA has reviewed a copy of Rowlatt’s response. However, we could not reach Rowlatt for a response as he was travelling.FACTFILEKaziranga Tiger Reserve in Assam is spread across over 800 sq km and is home to largest population of the greater one-horned rhinoceros
The reserve has the highest tiger density in the country at 12.72 tigers per 100 sq km, and as per the last tiger estimation carried out by NTCA, it has 103 tigers

Elephant rescued from slush in Nilgiris district dies

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 25-year old female elephant, recued after it was stuck in slush, died today in the Mudmalai Tiger Reserve camp in neighbouring Nilgiris District, taking the number of elephant deaths in the MTR to five in the last one week. The elephant was roaming in search of water when it got trapped in the slush in Karugudi forest range on February 23. On being alerted by locals, forest department personnel rescued the elephant which had suffered some injuries and took it to the camp for treatment. However, the elephant died this afternoon without responding to treatment, forest department sources said. This was the fifth elephant to die in the MTR area in the last one week. Earlier, three elephants were found dead due to suspected starvation, while another for want of water, they said.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Grossly errorenous reporting: Enivornment Ministry on BBC’s docu on Kaziranga reserve’s ‘shoot-to-kill’ policy

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Environment Ministry has suggested “blacklisting” of a BBC producer for “grossly erroneous” reporting after its documentary projected the government’s anti-poaching strategy at Kaziranga Tiger reserve as “shoot-to-kill” policy. An Office Memorandum (OM) issued by National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) has taken strong objection to the documentary for portraying India’s wildlife conservation efforts at the reserve in “negative” light. BBC news South Asia Bureau and the producer of the documentary– ‘Killing For Conservation’– Justin Rowlatt has been issued a showcause notice asking them as to why their permissions should not be revoked. The documentary examines the government’s anti-poaching policy and seeks to find if the communities in the areas near the reserve have been affected. The NTCA in its showcase has also asked the documentary to be removed from online portals with immediate effect and directed the Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom to take action. “As per (powers) vested by section 38 0(k) of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972, this authority hearby directs the BBC News South Asia Bureau and Justin Rowlatt to showcause as to why their permissions should not be revoked for violating clauses of the no-objection and clearances given by this authority within seven days,” the OM said. If the BBC fails to comply, its filming permission in all the tiger reserves of the country stand revoked, it said. “Further, the said documentary uploaded on various online portals be removed with immediate effect by parties concerned. The Indian High Commission in the United Kingdom is requested to take action as appropriate in the matter,” the OM said, adding it was a “breach of trust” by the producer. A BBC spoksperson, when contacted said the film makes clear the successes achieved by India’s conservation policies in preserving the country’s most iconic wildlife. “However, the film also expressly set out to explore the challenges of India’s conservation drive and during production it became clear that one of those challenges was the impact on communities living next to the park. “Our audiences expect us to bring them the full picture, while adhering to our editorial standards and this piece is no different,” the spokesperson said in a statement. The statement further said, “The issues raised in the film are part of an important international debate on the appropriate way to combat poaching. We did approach the relevant government authorities to make sure their position was fully reflected but they declined to take part.”(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Railway project endangers Melghat Tiger Reserve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Union Environment and Forest Ministry’s National Board for Wildlife (NBWL) has cleared the conversion of the Akola-Khandwa railway line, passing through the heart of Melghat Tiger Reserve, from metre gauge to broad gauge.This the second big gauge conversion to be granted wildlife clearance. According to government documents, the project would require felling of 160.94 hectares of forest from the critical tiger habitat of Wan Sanctuary, a part of the Melghat reserve and 155 hectares from the buffer zones of the river Wan and reserved forests.Wildlife conservationists see the move as a big setback for the tiger reserve that is home to about 50 tigers. Presently, passenger trains run on the 176km metre gauge line between Akot and Amlakhurd railway stations. On the stretch, the railway line passes through 40km of the forest, and of that, 18kms lies inside Melghat reserve.Spread over an area of 1,673 sq km, the Melghat Tiger Reserve is connected northwards to Satpuda forests. Following clearance for gauge conversion on the 227km Gondia-Jabalpur track, the tracks will cut through the Kanha-Pench tiger corridor.The NBWL has cleared the project with certain mitigating measures, which are yet to be made public. Maharashtra Forest Department and State Wildlife Board Member Kishor Rithe had recommended a host of mitigation measures, including developing existing underpasses along the railway line for smooth passage of wild animals, fencing of the railway line inside forests, and regulating speed of trains. Some of Rithe’s specific suggestions include: not building any new railway stations inside the tiger reserve and that railways, should not draw water from Wan River.“The train traffic and speed on this line will naturally rise, which will pose threats to wildlife. The Railways should have chosen the alternate route, which bypassed the critical tiger habitat,” Rithe said.The alternate route Rithe mentions would avoid the core wildlife areas of Melghat but it was rejected due to cost escalation, documents reveal. In the NBWL standing committee meeting, that was chaired by Environment Minister Anil Dave, it was discussed that the mitigation measures and other pertaining conditions should be suggested by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) and a Memorandum of Understanding should be signed with railways to implement them. Officials from Maharashtra Forest Department and NTCA could not be reached for comments.

Tigress who had preyed on three women captured

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A tigress who had killed at least three women last month and was roaming in Shivni range of forests in buffer zone of Tadoba Andhari Tiger Reserve (TATR) was captured by forest personnel today. “The feline was spotted in compartment no-233 under Shivni beat in morning and was tranquillised successfully. The tigress was shifted to Moharli nursery in a cage for preliminary medical checkup,” a department release stated. According to foresters, the behaviour of the tigress was found to be unusual and she was often sighted in the farms adjoining the villages in Brahmapuri and Sindewahi range of forests under TATR buffer zone since last month.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

30 visually impaired girls visit Kanha Tiger Reserve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A group of 30 visually-impaired girls experienced the beauty of ‘wildlife’ through their other receptive sensory faculties at Kanha Tiger Reserve of Madhya Pradesh under ‘Anubhuti’ campaign. “30 visually impaired girls visited the Kanha Tiger Reserve under the ‘Anubhuti’ campaign. These girls were taken on a nature trail and Safari,” Director of Kanha Tiger Reserve Pankaj Shukla informed today. Shukla said these girls belong to ‘Ananya,’ a Jabalpur based organisation working in this field. “These girls recognized the wild animals through their roars and sounds, sensed the flower and leaves through the smell, identified the trees touching their barks,” he added. Tiger Reserve’s Director also said that these girls also heard the audio presentation in the open air theatre situated here. “These girls were also given the information about the wild animals through an audio presentation at open air theatre,” he added. Shukla informed that a similar camp for the hearing impaired would also be organised on February 11-12. “We would also organise similar camps for the mentally challenged,” he added.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

40-year-old female elephant dies due to impaction

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A 40-year-old female elephant was found dead, reportedly due to “impaction” and blockage of digestive tract in a coffee estate at Valparai in the district, officials said today. On information last night, forest department officials and Deputy Director of Forest Veterinary Service N S Manoharan rushed to the spot at Varattuparai this morning, department officials said. The elephant could have died a week ago, as it could not defecate due to blockage in the digestive track, and had not consumed a couple of days ago before the death, they said. The surroundings, where the carcass was found, indicated that the elephant had struggled and rolled around before it died, the officials said. The carcass was buried after post-mortem near the estate, some five km from Valparai forests, in the presence of District Forest Officer, Anamalai Tiger Reserve, V Subbaiah, Forest Range Officer P Sakthivel and some members of Nature Conservation Foundation, an NGO.(This article has not been edited by DNA’s editorial team and is auto-generated from an agency feed.)

Tigress T1’s alleged killers arrested

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>After an uproar by wildlife conservationists over the dead of tigress T1 due to electrocution last week, the Madhya Pradesh Forest Department has nabbed five persons in the case.“We have booked five people so far and they were produced in court and are under judicial custody till February 7. Five more people are being interrogated in connection with the case,” Dr Dileep Kumar, Field Director of Sanjay Dubri Tiger Reserve, told DNA.Initially, the wires were said to be set up to protect crops from wild boars and other animals. However, the accused confessed to laying electric wires close to the farms in the buffer zone of east Sarvahi village to hunt wild boar. T1 is believed to have accidentally walked into this trap .The forest department arrested Karan Loni (21), Ram Kripal Loni (25), Ramchandra Kaul (40), Dadua alias Dadan Kaul (26) and Asif Khan (19) from Bochro village.Arrests were made after a massive manhunt that involved Special Task Force (Wildlife), sniffer dogs, and the state forest department. After the carcass was found on January 20 the forest department went into a tizzy looking for its three cubs and began a rescue mission. The cubs were rescued three km into the forest from where T1’s carcass was located.“The cubs, who are around a month old, have been shifted to Bandhavgarh National Park. They will kept in a designated area and will be released in the wild after a few years once they are ready as per the guidelines,” Kumar said. This will not be the first time MP forest department will be releasing abandoned tiger cubs in wild.The carcass of T1 was found near Banas river in Sarvahi village, close to the Tiger reserve with eye injuries and burn marks on the tail, making this the first reported tiger death from Madhya Pradesh in 2017. Across India, this is the ninth tiger death since January this year.

Central Team to finally probe into Jai’s disappearance

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Nine months after he went missing leading to a massive outcry, a central team will probe the disappearance of Maharashtra’s iconic tiger Jai.The Centre has constituted a team consisting of PS Somasekhar, inspector general (IG), Southern Zone of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA), and representatives of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) and the Wildlife Institute of India (WII).This team was set up after BJP MP Nana Patole wrote to Prime Minister Narendra Modi in August 2016 claiming Jai was poached. Then, Maharashtra forest minister Sudhir Mungantiwar sought a Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) probe.The last location of the seven-footer and 250 kg Jai was at Paoni range near his habitat of Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWLS) on April 18 when his radio collar last emitted signals. It is suspected to have malfunctioned. This led to a massive outcry and search by the forest department, wildlife enthusiasts and NGOs, with fears that he may have been poached.Speaking to DNA from UKWLS, where the team is on its maiden visit, Somasekhar said they would ‘verify the facts’ about the missing tiger. “Whether the tiger is missing has to be verified,” he said. The team will visit the sanctuary and meet officials.Incidentally, after Patole’s letter, officials from the NTCA — a statutory body for strengthening tiger conservation — had written to the PM against CBI probe into the case. In July, the forest department recovered hair samples from Bhandara district which matched Jai’s DNA.After reports that a tiger had been sighted in neighbouring Telangana, its forest department launched a search and camera trapping operation to ascertain if he was Jai. However, a senior Telengana forest department official told DNA that despite extensive monitoring in Adilabad and Nirmal districts, there were no indicators or direct sightings of the carnivore.”It may have gone back to Maharashtra,” the official said, adding that in the first week of January, some shepherds had seen a tiger moving from Telangana towards the Tipeshwar wildlife sanctuary in Maharashtra.

Death continues to dog Maharashtra’s big cats

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>As per reports from the Maharashtra Forest Department, the new year started off on a bad note for the state’s big cats: two tigers and three leopards lost their lives within the first fortnight of 2017. Of these, the leopards and one of the tigress’ deaths have been linked to poaching activity.Sources said that on January 8, a leopard died after being caught in a snare in Chandrapur. The next day two leopards were poisoned at the Khapa range near Nagpur, and a tigress was electrocuted in the same area on January 13. A day later, another tigress was found dead in Pench Tiger Reserve.Divisional forest officer and spokesperson of the state forest department’s wildlife wing, Girish Vashisth confirmed these deaths. Mortality due to unnatural causes like poisoning, electrocution and snares were counted as poaching, he said.Tiger deathsOfficials said in the Khapa case, while it was not clear if the tigress was from the area, the feline was electrocuted by live-wire fencing at Maharkund and sniffer dog ‘Jai’ was used to detect the buried carcass. Two dead sambar deer were also found. “The area is just 2 km away from the Pench Tiger Reserve’s buffer zone,” said an official.On January 13, a female tiger carcass was found between core and buffer areas of Pench Tiger Reserve. According to postmortem report, cause of death was ‘natural’, a respiratory system failure.Leopard poaching activityOfficials from Chandrapur circle confirmed a leopard death near the Chandrapur thermal power station. It was caught in a snare laid for trapping wild boar, they said.Meanwhile, Kundan Hate, Honorary Wildlife Warden, Nagpur, said two leopards were found dead in the Khapa range. “The half-eaten body of a dog was found in a nearby field and it is suspected that the leopards died after eating this poisoned carcass,” he added.Identifying loopholes“In wildlife areas, patrolling takes place daily, which is not the case in territorial forest divisions. So, threats to wildlife are not noticed,” said Hate. He said the departmental staff were also burdened with other works, which affected protection measures. “Many a times, the staff has detected cases of live wires being laid to kill animals before any harm was caused. However, foot patrolling by beat staff has been compromised in favour of motorcycles, which led to animal deaths going unnoticed for days,” Hate said.Vashisth said they were co-ordinating with the state power distribution utility to prevent and detect killings of animals via electrocution, which he said was a “cat and mouse game.”

Male tiger found dead in Bandipur Tiger Reserve

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>A male tiger from Bandipur Tiger Reserve, Karnataka on Friday morning succumbed to its injuries possibly due to starvation and injuries that left it immobile, after it was rescued on Thursday.According to Karnataka forest officials, the tiger was seen sitting without any movement an inch in the backwaters of Negu Dam on Thursday morning. Realising it could be severely injured, the forest department sought permission to tranquilise the big cat for treatment.Forest officials claimed that they initially suspected that the tiger could have been injured while trying to prey on a large animal like a guar, but close observation of injuries suggested it could be a territorial fight with another tiger.Bengaluru-based Joseph Hoover who is member of State Wildlife Advisory Board said that it was a right decision of the forest department to sedate the animal. “It seems that since the Mysore zoo was shut due to the avian flu cases, the tiger had to be taken to Bannergatta. I called the officials to get information on the tiger on Friday morning and was shocked to know that it did not survive,” he said. He will try and gather more details on the case on Monday to understand how quick the response was and whether anything could have been done to save the tiger.Hoover added that on enquiry, he was told that the injuries were at least 15 days old and there were bite marks on its limbs. This suggests the tiger was involved in a fight with another male.Dr Sujay Suresh, Veterinarian, Bannerghatta National Park, Bengaluru stated that the tiger was dead before being brought to Bannerghatta. “The tiger had multiple fractures on its right fore limb which did not allow it to move, and apart from that, its kidney and lungs too were found compromised upon inspection. The animal was also starving as its stomach had no food and septicemia had set in causing its death,” he said. He added that possibly the animal did not have any food for at least two to three days.Wildlife activists claimed that forest department should keep actively patrolling the forest, specially during the mating season when these territorial fights increase and injured tigers are pushed out of the forest. They also said there should be proper trained staff and vets to handle such situations.

Tigers overshadow Leopard deaths in Maharashtra

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>While the deaths and disappearances of flagship species like tigers continue to make news, a significant rise in death of wild leopards in Maharashtra remains outside the focus.According to figures sourced from the state forest department, a total of 414 spotted cats have died in Maharashtra from 2010 to August 2016.Experts note that the high death rate—of which a significant number is due to poaching and accidents—points to the neglect of the leopard due to the prevalence of a largely tiger-centric conservation and protection policy.The highest number of leopard mortality in the state were registered in 2011, when 70 leopards died, followed by 68 in 2012, 66 in 2015, 65 in 2014, 57 in 2010 and 43 in 2013. By August 2016, Maharashtra saw the deaths of 45 leopards.In contrast, the statistics of the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) show that tiger mortality in Maharashtra between 2010 and 2016-end stand at 65.Leopards, despite having a larger population than tigers, are at risk due to factors like conflict with humans, declining habitats and poaching.The Maharashtra government had admitted in the state legislative assembly that in Ahmednagar district alone, a total of 30 leopards died between January and September 2016.A report by the Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI) had revealed that in 2011, a total of 356 of these felines had died in India, of which 52 per cent deaths were due to poaching. Like the tiger, the leopard too is a Schedule I animal (listed under this schedule of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972) which entitles them to the highest degree of protection.It is estimated that India’s leopard population is around 12,000 to 14,000 with tiger bearing areas having around 7,910 of these big cats as determined according to the 2014 tiger census. The number of leopards in Maharashtra’s tiger habitats stands at 905.”Leopards stay around human population and disturbed areas, unlike tigers,” said Girish Vashisth, divisional forest officer and spokesperson of the state wildlife wing, adding that hence, the number of leopard deaths due to accidents was large due to the proximity of these felines with humans.”Generally, compared to tigers, leopards are ignored. They are the most ignored among large cats,” said environmentalist and conservationist Vidya Athreya stressing on the need to address this in a pro-active manner.Reasons for leopard mortalities: accidents caused by these animals falling into open wells, poaching, poisoning, targeted killings due to man-animal conflict, leopards getting caught in snares.

MoEF panel clears Ken-Betwa river linking project

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The Ken-Betwa river linking project, that will fragment the Panna Tiger Reserve, has been cleared by the Environment Ministry. The Ministry’s Expert Advisory Committee (EAC) on river valley and hydroelectric projects had convened a meeting on December 30 to appraise the project and its minutes show that it has recommended it for environmental clearance.The committee has cleared the project with nine conditions. “Impact due to habitat change having effect like corridor and loss of migratory path for wildlife including birds and impact on the breeding ground of species should be recorded during pre-construction/ post-construction stages,” one of the conditions said.Speaking to DNA about the project clearance, Union Minister for Water Resources Uma Bharti said, “I am quite happy that the first river linking project has received an environmental and tribal clearance formally. The project has already received wildlife clearance and now we are working out the funding pattern with NITI Aayog.”The Rs10,000-crore Ken-Betwa river linking project aims to transfer water from the Ken river basin in Madhya Pradesh to the Betwa river basin in the parched Bundelkhand, Uttar Pradesh region. The project however, will submerge a total of 5,258 hectares of forest land of which 4,141 hectares is in the Panna Tiger Reserve which is home to more than 30 tigers, leopards, sloth bears, endangered vultures and a dense forest.The EAC had earlier said that they would not appraise the project unless it was granted wildlife clearance by the National Board for Wildlife. The wildlife clearance was granted in August 2016 after environment experts visited the site and recommended certain actions to mitigate the adverse impact of river linking on wildlife.The river linking project, conceived under Atal Bihari Vajpayee’s government, has faced stiff opposition from wildlife conservationists as the project will see the construction of a dam in the core of Panna tiger reserve that lost all its tigers to poaching and natural deaths in 2009. A successful tiger reintroduction programme has managed to take the tiger count to 26 now.

Author Avijit Ghosh claims that his book on JNU was denied reading permission at World Book Fair

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –> A New Delhi-based author has alleged his book which has a setting in the 1980s in Jawaharlal Nehru University was denied reading permission at the ongoing New Delhi World Book Fair, a claim dismissed by the organisers.The book’s publishers Speaking Tiger sought to distance itself saying, “We have nothing much to say about the decision.” The author, Avijit Ghosh, took to Facebook to express his disappointment. “Friends, my JNU novel, ‘Up Campus Down Campus’, was denied reading at the ongoing World Book Fair. The book was one of the three that my publishers, Speaking Tiger, wanted to organise a discussion and reading on.”National Book Trust, the organisers, asked only for ‘Up Campus Down Campus’. Within a hour or two, they said, no,” he said in a post. According to Ghosh, the book that was released last year soon after JNU was in news for wrong reasons, was denied reading without any explanation.”No explanation was given by NBT to the publisher. The present NBT chairman is a former editor of ‘Panchjanya’. In the absence of explanation, I can only speculate on their act.”First, the organisers didn’t want to give a platform to a novel on JNU for some reason in their mind. Second, AAP leader Ashutosh, my hostel mate then at Periyar, was the fellow discussant. We — the book and us — seem to be guilty by suspicion,” he wrote on Facebook.Ghosh’s ‘Up Campus, Down Campus’ celebrates JNU’s “uniqueness”, while mapping the aspirations, raging hormones and moral conflicts of small-town boys who arrive in city campuses every year.NBT, however, denied any foul play and said it had a set programme schedule to follow to accommodate maximum number of participants.”We have not cancelled anything. We have a programme schedule and try to accommodate maximum number of participants. Also, they (Speaking Tiger) did not come and request us again to conduct the reading,” Badeo Bhai Sharma, Chairman of NBT, told PTI. Reacting to Ghosh’s claims, Sharma said, “It is their thinking, but we do not discriminate. All book and authors are equally important for us.”In a statement, Speaking Tiger said, “The book fair is organised by the NBT and it is for them to decide what events they want to host. It doesn’t affect the book in any way.There’ll be other opportunities for book readings and discussions.” It went on to say, “NBT informed us on 2nd January that the scheduled book reading and discussion had been cancelled, and that they would refund the fee that we had paid.”

2016: The year that was not for tigers as toll in MP touched 33

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>Once a home to tigers, Madhya Pradesh now appears to have turned into an enemy territory for them, as the state witnessed the highest number of feline deaths in 2016, when it lost 33 big cats, taking the toll to 89 in a period of last five years.From year 2011 to 2016, as many as 89 tigers including 11 cubs died in the state due to various reasons including poaching, territorial clashes or for natural reasons as cited in the data obtained from the MP Forest Department.The data revealed that 2012 witnessed the death of 16 felines which reduced to 11 next year (2013). Subsequent years proved more fatal for the wildcat when the state saw 14 and 15 deaths respectively in 2014 and 2015.And, then came 2016, the worst of all when the figures (of feline deaths) were almost double the average of previous five years.On an average, 14 tigers had died every year from 2012 to 2015, but the death toll went up to an alarming level of 33 in 2016.As far as reasons are concerned, the death of 30 out of 89 tigers were attributed to the territorial clashes, while 22 of them have fallen prey to poachers, who killed them either by poisoning or through the electrocution.The remaining 37 tigers are cited to die either due to their old age, illness or some other reasons.Amid all these dismal reports about dwindling wildcats’ population, state forest authorities claimed that there was some encouraging news too for tiger conservationists. The state has recorded a growth in their population as more cubs were born during this period.”The tiger population was reduced to 257, according to the census carried out by the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) in 2011. However in 2014, the tiger population in the state has gone up to 308,” MP’s Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), Wildlife, Jitendra Agrawal told PTI.Agrawal claimed that there are 216 tigers in only six tiger reserves of the state – Kanha, Bandhavgarh, Pench, Panna, Satpura and Sanjay National Park.”In addition to these tiger reserves, there are a number of tigers in other forests of the state. If cubs are included, the number of tigers may go beyond 400. This data is an evidence of ongoing conservation work,” he added.He claimed that the data of union government also denotes that the number of tigers in Madhya Pradesh are rising gradually over the years.The tiger conservationists, however, find this rise in deaths as negligence on part of the authorities.”A task force constituted in 2005 by the Centre had recommended that the responsibility should be fixed in each case of unnatural death of the tiger. But this is not being done in the state,” a Bhopal based tiger conservationist Ajay Dubey told PTI.Dubey alleged that the conviction rate in case of the poaching is almost negligible in the state.”Government officers are turning hostile in the court in tiger poaching cases. There is no expertise with the state to collect scientific evidence in such cases,” he said.The tiger conservationist also claimed that there was no coordination between forest and police departments to track down the criminals involved in poaching.”The poor network and intelligence sharing are also making tigers more vulnerable,” Dubey lamented.On the other hand, Agrawal informed that an average amount between Rs 40-45 crore is being spent every year on the tiger conservation. In addition, an amount of Rs 10 Lakh is given to persons relocated from villages situated in tiger reserve areas.In reply to a question, PCCF (Wildlife) claimed that there is sizeable decrease in tigers’ hunting for commercial purposes.”But, the tigers are now dying as farmers are putting up the electric wires or the traps to save their crops from wild animals. To avoid such a situation, we have increased the patrolling, in addition to creating awareness among the people,” he added.

Search for Jai continues near Telengana-Maharashtra border

<!– /11440465/Dna_Article_Middle_300x250_BTF –>The chase for one of Asia’s largest tigers has been extended to neighbouring Telangana with the state’s forest department launching a search and setting up camera traps to ascertain if a tiger spotted on the border with Maharashtra was indeed Jai, who went “missing” from the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary in Maharashtra.”The operation is on. Our people have gone there and a 60-member (team) is working on it,” Jogu Ramanna, minister for environment and forests, Telangana, told DNA. He added they were also setting up camera traps to gather photographic evidence of the tiger and ascertain if it indeed is Jai. This is being done in Adilabad district, which shares a border with Yavatmal, Chandrapur and Nanded in Maharashtra.The last location of the seven-foot-long and 250 kg Jai — named after superstar Amitabh Bachchan’s character from the blockbuster Sholay — was at Paoni range near his habitat in the Umred Karhandla Wildlife Sanctuary (UKWLS) on April 18 when his radio collar last emitted signals and is suspected to have malfunctioned. This led to a massive outcry and search operation by the forest department, wildlife enthusiasts and NGOs, with fears that the tiger, the largest in India, may have been poached.”Our staff saw (the tiger) twice at night… near a river on the Maharashtra-Telangana border. But they had no chance to photograph him. If this was done, we could have identified him as Jai based on these photographs,” said Ramanna.”We are supporting the efforts by the Maharashtra government (to locate Jai),” he added, stating that their counterparts from Maharashtra had also launched a search operation on the state’s border.”We have set up camera traps in tiger bearing areas. But this area does not have a strong tiger presence and hence does not have the required equipment. If the region had these camera traps, we could have been able to identify if the tiger was indeed Jai,” said Ramanna, adding that they were now setting up the camera traps in the area.A senior official from the Telangana forest department said that while they were monitoring the presence and movement of the tiger, there was “no evidence to support if it is Jai”.”There is no evidence or direct spotting for the past 15 days. This is revenue land with cotton and red gram crop so it is difficult for us to find evidence,” he said, adding that they had installed 10 camera traps.”On the night of December 14, two range officers saw the tiger twice in a 15-minute gap in a two to three kilometre distance… They were however unable to identify if the tiger was radio collared,” the officer said. He added that there was a chance that the animal could be on the move and surface at another location either in Maharashtra or Karnataka.

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