Guwahati: Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma and spiritual guru Jaggi Vasudev, popularly known as Sadhguru, have faced flak for enjoying Safari at the Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve on Saturday night.

Sadhguru, who arrived at Kaziranga to inaugurate the three-day Chintan Shivir organized by the Assam government, on Saturday night led a jeep Safari from Mihimukh.

The spiritual guru went on the night Safari in the central range of the national park with Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarama, Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah and top officials of the park and the forest department.  

Sources said as per protocol, Safari is not allowed inside the park after sunset as it causes trouble to the wildlife.

According to the website of the Kaziranga National Park, the jeep and elephant safari is conducted in the park from 8 am to 10 am and 2 pm to 4 pm only.

An official of KNP said on condition of anonymity that nobody except park officials and staffers is allowed inside the park after 5 pm.

Expressing serious concern, wildlife activist Mubina Akhtar accused Sadhguru of violating provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.

“This is a brazen violation of wildlife conservation protocol.  Sadhguru claimed himself as an environmentalist, does not he has a basic idea of the wildlife protection norms?” Akhtar told Northeast Now.  

She also slammed Chief Minister Sarma for using his position to violate the provisions of the law.

Surajit Dutta, a former director of Kaziranga National Park, said that night Safari is not a healthy practice for wildlife.

 “This is not good for the wildlife of the park. This can cause hindrance to them. When I was posted at Kaziranga National Park, there were no rules allowing safaris after 5 pm. Now on what terms it is allowed, I do not know,” Dutta said.

It may be mentioned that, in July this year, the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) had asked the Madhya Pradesh government to put a stop to night safaris in tiger reserves of the state as it causes hindrance to wildlife.

The NTCA, in a letter to the state forest department, said that night safari causes noise in the wildlife area.

“The animals are awakened by the lights of the vehicles. These put the animals under stress as they are used to the natural light,” the NCTA mentioned.

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Mahesh Deka

Mahesh Deka is Senior Copy Editor of Northeast Now. He can be reached at: maheshdk3@gmail.com