Guest post by ARJUN JOSHI
The issue with killing animals highlights an anomaly of sorts. These animals survive on the borders of our moral concepts; the consequence is that we sometimes find ourselves according them a divine moral status, while at other times denying them even basic moral status. Prakash Javadekar, the Union Minister of State for Environment, Forests and Climate Change, recently sanctioned the mass-killing of wild boar in Uttarakhand, nilgai in Bihar and rhesus monkey in Himachal Pradesh. More animals such as peacocks (Goa) and wild elephants (West Bengal) have been declared to be vermin by the state governments, paving the way for their culling too.
Javadekar’s defence is that his orders are premised on complaints his Ministry has received from multiple State governments claiming that the animals are damaging farm-lands.
Construing the actions of an individual, irrespective of their arbitrariness, risks confusing the symptom for the disease. Today, Mr. Javadekar’s actions are based on an ill-informed interpretation of the Wildlife Protection Act of 1972. The Act stipulates the protection of all wild species, barring vermin. By definition, vermin include common crows, fruit bats, mice and rats. A notable exception is made when there is a direct threat to human life by wild animals, and it requires immediate intervention. Apart from these, arguably, justified reasons, the Ministry is disallowed from ordering culling of any other animal. Unfortunately, Mr. Javadekar has bypassed the existing framework, by opting to declare an entire species as vermin – the convenient route out of planned and strategized animal management.
Continue reading A Case for Animals against Executive Culling: Arjun Joshi
Guest post by KAMAL NAYAN CHOUBEY
View of the Rajapur Mining Project in Jharia from Bokahapadi village
The Narendra Modi led National Democratic Front (NDA) government had promised, even before its inception, to increase investment in the country and lay down the ‘red carpet’ for investors and corporates. The process of fulfilling that promise started with the formation of NDA government and under the leadership of Mr. Prakash Javadekar, the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF) working overtime to ensure huge investment in the forests for the high growth rate of the economy. Within hundred days of the formation of the government MoEF has given environmental clearance to 240 of 325 projects that had been in limbo as the previous government slowed down the process of giving clearances to various projects due to a variety of reasons. The Government has estimated that these clearances would lead to the investment of 200,000 crore rupees and it would help to revive the economy. In this whole process, the Forest Advisory Committee (FAC) decided on the diversion of 7,122 hectares of forest land into revenue land for the various development projects. It is pertinent to ask, has Modi Government followed the procedure established by law while taking these decisions? Are these decisions in consonance with the promise BJP made to the tribal population, of more decentralized power? Could these decisions empower those communities who have been facing historical injustice from both colonial and post-colonial Indian state? Can we say that this kind of development model would work as a long term strategy to control Maoist violence in the most of the tribal dominated forest areas? Continue reading ‘Red Carpet’ in Forests: Kamal Nayan Choubey