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Sadhguru and Assam CM Face Huge Criticism Over Kaziranga National Park Row

Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, and Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah have been accused of breaking Wildlife Protection Law.

Shubhi Singh
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma with Sadhguru.
Assam CM Himanta Biswa Sarma with Sadhguru.

Himanta Biswa Sarma, the chief minister of Assam, refuted claims made by two activists that he, Sadhguru Jaggi Vasudev, and Tourism Minister Jayanta Malla Baruah breached the law by going on a night safari in Kaziranga National Park.

According to two activists in Assam, Sadhguru, Sarma, and Baruah entered the national park on Saturday well after the scheduled visit time, which is where the Indian one-horned rhino lives. The activists said that in order to conserve the animals and preserve their natural environment, the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972 prohibits safari tours inside national parks after a designated hour. Videos posted to social media and broadcast on local channels show Sarma, Baruah, and Sadhguru driving an open safari SUV.

According to MK Yadava, Principal Chief Conservator of Forests for Assam, the Chief Minister, and Sadhguru were invited by the forest department. "So it is wrong to say that Sadhguru and our Chief Minister entered the park and enjoyed the safari late at night. All arrangements were made and there was no way that we could cancel the plan just because it was getting dark," he said.

Isha Foundation, which belongs to Sadhguru also said "We believe all the necessary permissions were taken by the government for this special occasion.”

CM Sarma said that "There is no violation. According to wildlife law, the warden can give permission to enter a protected area even at night. No law stops people from entering at night. Yesterday, we had the formal opening of the park for this season, and now that Sadhguru and Sri Sri Ravi Shankar had arrived, and since they have lakhs of followers, this time we expect the tourist season will be very good for Kaziranga."

Action should be taken against them in accordance with the Wildlife Protection Act, according to activists Soneswar Narah and Prabin Pegu, who made the complaint to the Golaghat district police. "We filed a complaint against Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma, Jayanta Malla Baruah and Sadhguru for violating Wildlife Protection Act 1972 at Kaziranga National Park. After 4 pm, safari is not allowed inside Kaziranga National Park," Soneswar Narah, chief adviser, Jeepal Krishak Shramik Sangha, told reporters.

"But the three were seen enjoying a safari ride inside the national park after 6 pm, violating the Wildlife Protection Act. We are living in the peripheral region of Kaziranga National Park for many years and sacrificed many things for the national park. Many of our people were killed by forest personnel and branded as poachers,"Narah alleged.

"The law is equal for all. How can they violate the Wildlife Protection Act? We would not tolerate such activities. They should be arrested for violating the law," he said.

For driving inside the national park after hours, Sadhguru, CM Sarma, and minister Baruah received heavy criticism on social media. No first information report, or FIR, has been filed, according to a police officer, but they have begun their initial inquiry.

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