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World Environment Day: Meet the man who's been assaulted, threatened, but continues to protect the environment

CNN-IBN
Jun 05, 2014 at 12:43pm IST

On World Environment Day, CNN-IBN brings you the stories of Green Heroes who have dedicated their life to preserve the environment. Deviram Gurjar has put in 20 years of blood and sweat to save the wild animals and forests near his village in Rajasthan. He has been socially ostracized and threatened but his fight to protect the environment is on.

Gurjar is a one-man Army who, for the past two decades, has been fighting a lonely battle to protect an important tiger corridor in Rajasthan. He has been guarding the three-kilometre hilly strip between the Ranthambhore National Park and the Kela Devi Sanctuary.

He has planted some 500 trees to create a forest shelter for the tiger and it's under these trees that he's seen the animal walk past to go down to the pond. For twenty years, Gurjar stood his ground against villagers who chopped trees for firewood and sold it for a profit.

Gurjar said, "If we destroy our jungles then the animals won't survive."

However, in 2009, things changed. 80 villagers barged into his house to assault him. When he refused to give in, the villagers called a caste panchayat which issued a diktat against Gurjar. Now, if he tries to stop villagers from cutting the trees, he will be fined Rs 51,000.

Since then the strip has lost over 400 trees. To add to the lost green cover, Gurjar has planted Babool trees on his own 10 bigha farm adjoining the strip, land that he could have used for agriculture. Today, Gurjar roams surrounding villages to make people aware of how crucial it is to save the trees.

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