Assam: Sadhguru, CM Himanta Sarma's Kaziranga night safari triggers row
Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev's purported night safari at Kaziranga National Park has triggered a major row. Wildlife conservation activists filed a complaint against the duo and alleged that they violated the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. "There is no law that people can't go at night," CM Sarma said after the complaint was filed. Here's more.
Sadhguru seen driving open jeep
According to reports, two activists have filed a complaint against CM Sarma, Sadhguru, and Assam Tourism Minister Malla Baruah for entering the national park after visiting hours. The seer had visited Assam for a special program, after which they reportedly went for a safari at the national park on Sunday evening. Videos showed Sadhguru driving an open jeep with Sarma seated next to him.
Watch: CM Sarma and Sadhguru at Kaziranga
His blessings are special. His teachings, extraordinary.— Himanta Biswa Sarma (@himantabiswa) September 24, 2022
Revered @SadhguruJV, in whose presence Kaziranga National Park opened today for tourists, has a special message to save precious Rhinos. And indeed he enjoyed the Jeep Safari.
Tourism Min Shri @jayanta_malla accompanied. pic.twitter.com/0donjtW9Vy
What did the chief minister say?
On Monday, CM Sarma told reporters, "There is no violation. According to the Wildlife Law, the warden can give permission to enter a protected area even at night. No law stops people from entering at night (sic)." Further, he clarified that Sadhguru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar's Kaziranga visit will attract more tourists. Notably, Kaziranga National Park is home to the Indian one-horned rhino.
They entered the park after 6 pm, allege activists
The complaint was filed by activists Soneswar Narah and Prabin Pegu in the Golaghat district, NDTV reported. "After 4 pm, safari is not allowed inside Kaziranga National Park... But the three were seen enjoying a safari ride inside the national park after 6 pm, violating the Wildlife (Protection) Act," they told reporters. The duo demanded police action against them under the Wildlife (Protection) Act.
Law must be equal for all: Activists
Demanding that the law be equal for all, the complainants said, "We are living at [Kaziranga's] peripheral region...sacrificed many things for the national park. Many of our people were killed by forest personnel." They demanded a public apology from violators for setting a dangerous precedent. As per Wildlife (Protection) Act's Section 27, only on-duty public servants can enter wildlife sanctuaries after the dedicated timings.
Drove car inside national park after memorial ceremony
Sadhguru drove the jeep for two kilometers inside the reserve, The Hindu reported. The spiritual guru had arrived in Assam to participate in a rhino memorial inauguration at Kaziranga, which is scheduled to reopen its gates on October 15. Responding to the backlash, Isha Foundation said Sadhguru had been invited by the Assam government. "We believe all the necessary permissions were taken," it said.