KOLKATA: Ahead of the Duke of Cambridge Prince William's visit to Kaziranga National Park in Assam tomorrow, a human rights body has appealed to him to raise issues of the tribals living around the forest.
Officials of Survival International, a non-government organisation, said they had contacted the Prince who is patron of several conservation charities and urged him to raise the concerns of tribes people about "heavy-handed conservation policies" with the Indian authorities.
"This is the perfect opportunity for Prince William to speak out against summary executions carried out in the name of conservation. Extrajudicial killings should have no place in conservation today," Director, Survival International, Stephen Corry said.
"Why aren't the big conservation organisations loudly condemning this kind of knee-jerk brutality? Instead, they are supporting anti-tribal conservation policies, which play right into the hands of the gangsters who are running international poaching rings," he said, adding that targeting tribal people diverts action away from tackling the poachers and harms conservation.
The NGO has claimed that 62 people have been shot dead by wildlife guards in just nine years in Kaziranga.
Tribal activist Gladson Dungdung said: "If you want to protect a tiger reserve you also have to protect the 'adivasis' and the forest, only then they will exist, if 'adivasis' are not there you won't find tigers as well."
The royal couple is scheduled to visit the Kaziranga forest, famed for the one-horned rhinoceros, tomorrow morning and enjoy a jeep safari inside the park.