Pay respect to forest martyrs by clearing encroachments: Eshwar Khandre
The New Indian Express
September 12, 2023
Forest, Environment and Ecology Minister Eshwar Khandre on Monday told
forest department officials that if they wanted to pay their respects to
martyrs, they must clear all encroachments and sternly act against
Accompanied by Chief Minister Siddaramaiah and Waqf and Minorities Welfare
Minister Zameer Ahmed Khan, Khandre participated in a Forest Martyrs Day
programme in the city. The day is observed to pay respects to forest
staffers who died on duty.
Khandre said that so far, 57 forest staffers have died in man-elephant
conflicts, during elephant rescue operations, and even while protecting
wildlife and forest produce from poachers. “If you want to pay real tribute
to martyrs, you should prosecute all those who have encroached forest land.
The day should be observed to instil confidence amongst others, and to the
family members of the martyrs,” he said. Khandre also recollected recent
incidents in which elephant task force member Girish and sharpshooter
Venkatesh were killed. He said the government will take all measures to
ensure forest conservation. He pointed out that the Western Ghats is a
biodiversity hotspot and is home to endemic and endangered species, due to
which its protection is vital.
In Karnataka, Forest Martyrs Day was observed every year on November 11, as
a mark of respect to senior IFS officer P Srinivasan, who was killed by
forest brigand Veerappan in 1991.
However, after a Central Government order was issued in 2013, National
Forest Martyrs Day is observed every year on September 11, in memory of the
Khejarli Massacre of 1730, when 359 Bishnoi tribals were killed while
trying to save trees in Rajasthan, during the rule of Maharaja Abhai Singh.