Govt may not deploy special tiger force in Naxal-hit areas

Govt may not deploy special tiger force in Naxal-hit areas
New Delhi (PTI): The endangered tigers in the Naxalite-hit areas in the country may not get armed cover as the government fears that it may lead to skirmishes with the extremists.

The decision is being taken in view of threats from the Naxalites who, the government apprehends might not take well the “presence” of the Special Task Protection Force (STPF), according to the well placed sources in the Environment Ministry.

The dedicated armed force is being created to save the tigers from poachers and miscreants.

“In the Naxalite-infested reserves, it will not be easy for the armed forces to keep a tab on the tigers as they can come in conflict with the equally sophisticated equipped extremists,” a top ministry official said.

This observation was discussed threadbare at a recent high-level meeting led by Environment Secretary Vijay Sinha and was attended by senior police officials from tiger range states as well almost all state wildlife officials, including chief wildlife wardens and chief conservator of forests.

The government would neither like to risk the lives of the personnel of the STPF nor aggravate the situation by drawing the ire of Naxalites who have presence in the deep forests, the official said.

The extremist-affected tiger reserves are Palamao Betla in Jharkhand, Kaziranga and Manas park in Assam, Nagarjunsagar tiger reserve in Andhra Pradesh besides Indravati in Bastar region in Jharkhand.

“Currently, such reserves are being taken care of by the local guards who have somewhat managed a cordial relation with the Naxalites,” the official added.


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