Avatar of Sushanta Roy

Sushanta Roy is a journalist in the north eastern states of Assam and Meghalaya, India, who photographs and writes about the people, animals and flora, and the things that affect them.

Diphu September 22:  On World Rhino Day2021, thousands of rhino horns were destroyed ceremoniously in a government initiative by Assam Forest at Bokaghat Ground Stadium of Nagaon district where Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, Chief Minister of Assam was the chief guest. He was attended by Parimal Suklabaidya  Minister of Forest Department, Keshab Mahanta, Minister of Health etc, Atul Bora  Minister of Agriculture, etc, Urkhao Gwra Brahma Minister of Handloom and Textile etc, Chief Executive Member of Karbi Anglong Autonomous Council Tuliram Ronghang and other celebrities. A total 2479 impounded rhino horns were blazed in public view.

In the checkered history of India this is the first instance of destruction of a legendary rhino horn. The Assam government accomplished the rare exploit of blistering stockpiles of 2479 horns of single-horned Rhinos, an archetype worldwide in terms of volume. This has been done as per the guidance of Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi for “putting an end to poaching in Assam.”

Wild Indian rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park. Hunted for rhino horns. Photo: Yathin SK
Wild Indian rhinoceros in Kaziranga National Park. Photo: Yathin SK

“One-horned rhino is not only integral to our civilization, but also a symbol of our prized heritage and identity. We are preserving 94 rhino horns for display at a museum to be set up at Kaziranga National Park.  The use of rhino horn for medicinal purposes is a myth.” Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma said, addressing a very elite gathering at the venue of the momentous event.

“One-horned rhino is not only integral to our civilization, but also a symbol of our prized heritage and identity, we are preserving 94 rhino horns for display at a museum to be set up at Kaziranga National Park,” Sarma added.  He mentioned that using rhino horns for medicinal purposes is a myth.

A very highly placed Indian Forest Service officer now retired from service couldn’t control his emotion bearing in mind the mass annihilation. “It’s not right to deprecate and devalue the sacrifices of a century by foresters of all ranks. Neither is it correct to effect a mega trade-off involving the heritage of Assam for something not useful. I’m getting an impression that what the cabinet approved in favor of destruction of rhino horn; if you were to oppose it that would be the proverbial cry in the wilderness!

“Decades succeeding decades, culminating in a century gave us the success story on rhino conservation. This wasn’t the result of Laptop cum seminar culture. Our boys did it under sun, skies, flood, cold and insecurity. A proper valuation to respect that is needed. I scrape up my brains, … for an answer I’ll never get,” said the disappointed bureaucrat on condition of anonymity.

2-3 day old male rhino calf found alone in the wilderness of Agoratoli range rescued by Kaziranga forest staff and handed over to Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) the IFAW-WTI wildlife care facility for care on Monday,6th July 2015.Photo:Subhamoy Bhattacharjee/IFAW-WTI
Nearly 2-3 days old male rhino calf found alone in the wilderness of Agoratoli range is rescued by the Kaziranga forest staff and handed over to Centre for Wildlife Rehabilitation and Conservation (CWRC) the IFAW-WTI wildlife care facility for care on Monday,6th July 2015.Photo:Subhamoy Bhattacharjee/IFAW-WTI