New Delhi: Environment Minister Jayanthi Nartarjan on Monday asked Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah to take action against the people who recently tried to burn a bear alive in a village at Shopian district. The Minister also announced setting up of a primary response team to quickly deal with the increasing incidents of bear-human conflict in the state.
She termed as "extremely shocking" the last week's incident in which locals attempted to burn the bear alive in Mohammadpora village, some 60 km from Srinagar. "Strict action should be taken against those who are involved in the incident. I am going to write to the Chief Minister. Those who are involved in the incident should be punished," Natarajan told reporters at the sidelines of International Bear Conservation Conference in New Delhi.
She said that the people could be easily identified from the video which showed the frightened bear climbing up a tree hurriedly and struggling frantically to save itself as a person among the crowd tied a flaming cloth to a pole and tried to poke the animal.
Earlier, addressing the conference, the Minister said several people have been injured in bear-human conflicts in Jammu and Kashmir and such incidents should not hamper the conservation efforts for bears.
"I would like to share with you that it will be my effort as Minister to ensure that a primary response team is put in place in all the important areas, which are vulnerable to such incidents and this team should spring into action immediately so that bears are taken away and humans are also saved from such attacks," Natarajan said.
She also suggested a fund to provide assistance and support from the government for rehabilitation and treatment of the people injured in bear attacks in Jammu and Kashmir.
The state wildlife department's data on man-animal conflict in Kashmir shows an increasing trend from 1995 to 2009. Bears and leopards have been mostly blamed for the attacks on humans.