JAIPUR: A woman in Jodhpur's Rewar village, who witnessed 4 poachers kill a blackbuck on Thursday, sat on an indefinite fast as a mark of protest demanding the arrest of the hunters. Indira Vishnoi, the middle-aged eyewitness to the poaching tragedy, sat on Dharna on Friday along with a group of wildlife saviours from the Vishnoi community known widely as protectors of the environment and wildlife in western Rajasthan.
On Saturday afternoon, the fasting Indira’s condition deteriorated sharply and the district administration had to send in an ambulance and a number of doctors to treat her at the spot itself as Indira refused to be shifted to any hospital or to end her protest. Indira Vishnoi told the forest officials and other authorities that she would not end her fast or get treated in any hospital until all the four poachers who had killed the blackbuck in front of her eyes are arrested by the police.
Jeeta Ram Bishnoi, a member of Bishnoi community who is a part of the group demanding the arrest of the poachers says : “ Even if today we have to die to protect our environment, we will happily do so with no worries. We can get our heads cut in the process, it doesn’t matter. If someone gets to know of a huntsman in the area, they sprint to stop him without worrying about his bullet. The only aim at that time is to capture the hunter and make sure he has to face the music in the court.”
Ranger Kailash Giri said that one of the poachers named Baluram Banwri has been arrested and the forest department is confident of arresting the remaining three – namely Babulal, Kailash and Manohar Banwri - also within a few days. Though most protestors continued to protest through Saturday, finally after written assurances from district authorities, a compromise was finally reached and the group protest was eventually lifted late on Saturday night.
"Indira Vishnoi is the witness to this incident and the poor deer after the bullet injury, died on her lap. On the written assurance of the district administration that all the three other poachers shall be arrested in three days we have postponed our agitation , if the administration fails to fulfill the promise till Monday we will resume our agitation and community people in large numbers will go and express our resentment to Rajasthan CM on Tuesday on his Jodhpur visit ." said Ramlal Bhavad , President of Vishnoi Tiger force.
Vishnoi community of Rajasthan had shot to fame nearly two decades back when they played a critical role in nailing down Bollywood superstar Salman Khan for his poaching adventures near Jodhpur. It was their strong opposition and persistent legal battle which landed Salman in Jodhpur Jail. Their love for nature became the talking point of the entire nation after that but Bishnois have had a long tradition of conservation for centuries. According to the legend popular among the environment-conscious Bishnois, 363 members of the community-led by Amrita Devi had died while protecting the Khejri trees being felled to build a palace for the Maharaja of Jodhpur in 1730 AD.