Kheti Bachhao Samiti turns man-animal conflict in Himachal into a rural poll issue

Peoples Action Group to represent farmers in court in monkey cull case

Shimla: With Peoples Action Group, representing the farmers lobby, having moved court about being made party to an animal rights petition opposing killing of monkeys, wild boars and neelgai (antelopes); Kheti Bachhao Sangarsh Samiti (KBSS) has turned the man-animal conflict into a panchayat poll issue .

Seeking a lasting solution to the monkey menace problem, Kuldeep Tanwar, a former forest officer, said that famers aware of the problems faced in protecting crops have been asked to elect candidates who can effectively raise the issue about the threat posed by wild animals to their livelihoods.

Supporting the KBSS stance, Peoples Action Group (PAG), a NGO, has asked the High Court to be made party to a petition filed by Chandigarh and Kasauli based People for Animals organization seeking a recall of a memo about issuing of licenses to farmers permitting them to kill monkeys, wild boars and neelgai.

Bhupender Singh, president of PAG, holds that the animal rights groups were unable to empathize with the problems faced by the farmers.

“Since the court has made the state government, the central government, the principal chief wildlife warden and animal welfare board party to the petition by People for Animals organization, we have to be made party representing the farmers’ side,” he said.

While the matter comes before the court in 27th December, polling to the three phase election in over 3000 panchayats starts on 28th December.

As over 28300 representatives are to be elected by the over 44 lakh voters in the year ender rural poll, the man-animal conflict issue is very much part of the campaigns as it did also figure on the election manifesto of both BJP and congress before the 2007 assembly elections.

Under pressure from the farmer lobby, the principal wild life warden had relented by issuing over 3000 licences to them for killing monkey and other animals and on the call from KBSS, farmers in ten days (10th to 20th December) are said to have waylaid about 100 odd simians provoking animal rights groups calling for a halt to the campaign.

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