Guwahati, Sep 27 (IANS): The row over Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and spiritual leader Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev allegedly violating wildlife protection laws during their jeep safari after dusk in the Kaziranga National Park refuses to settle down.
On Tuesday, Assam minister Pijush Hazarika attackED the Congress on this issue, claiming that during his tenure as Chief Minister in 2008, Tarun Gogoi had visited the Kaziranga National Park's Arimora inspection bungalow and spent a night there. Congress leader Digvijaya Singh, who was then in-charge of Assam Congress, had accompanied Gogoi to the national park.
The minister also claimed that late Gogoi went to the same site in Kaziranga a number of times between 2008 and 2016, when he was the Chief Minister of the state.
"As there was no electricity, generators were installed at the Arimora inspection bungalow so that Gogoi could spend the night there," Hazarika said, asking why the environmentalists did not raise the issue then.
Hazarika also said that the Arimora inspection bungalow is located at a distance of 13 km from the main entrance of Kaziranga National Park, while Sarma covered a distance of hardly half-a-kilometre inside the park.
"Kaziranga National Park's director, chief conservator of forests, and other officials accompanied Sarma and Sadhguru while they visited the national park at around 5.45 pm. Moreover, the chief conservator of forests had given permission for this visit," the minister said.
Many people, including environmentalists, have criticised Sarma and Sadhguru for their jeep ride inside the national park after sunset.
On Sunday, Soneswar Narah and Prabin Pegu, residents of two villages near the national park, had lodged a police complaint against Sarma, Sadhguru and state Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah for allegedly violating Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 by riding a jeep with the vehicle's headlights blazing after dusk.