Gahirmatha Patrol Boat Attack: Odisha HC Seeks Report from Kendrapada SP

The Odisha High Court has directed the Kendrapada Superintendent of Police to submit before it an update on the current status of all cases linked to the attack on a patrol boat in Gahirmatha reserve last month. Earlier, the court had reiterated the need for stepping up vigil operations by the State Police department at Gahirmatha – the world’s largest rookery for the endangered Olive Ridley turtle species – from the gnaws of illegal trawling activities.

The bench of Chief Justice S Muralidhar and Justice BP Routray said, “Unless the past cases, including the present one, are carried to their logical end, there will be no deterrence against similar illegal trawler activities which are taking place year after year in the area”.

The observations came from the Bench as it was hearing a suo motu Public Interest Litigation (PIL) on the deaths of Olive Ridley turtles along the state’s coasts. Mohit Agarwal, the amicus curiae for this case, had submitted a report on the unprecedented attack on a Marine Police patrol boat by an illegal trawler on the night of March 15. The attack was registered as a criminal case in the Talachua Marine police station. The Bench sought all records of past cases registered against family members of the boat owner involved in the ghastly attack.

The Bench scheduled the next hearing of the case on May 5th, by which it directed the Kendrapada SP to comply with its orders and file the status reports. The amicus curiae’s report said that after detecting a fishing trawler in the protected sanctuary area, the Gahirmatha Wildlife Range and the APR Police staff departed to intercept the trawler. However, taking cover of the night, the fishermen instead pounced on the team and attacked all members aboard the patrolling boat with sharp weapons.

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