LUCKNOW: A Lakhimpur Kheri court in UP awarded a sentence of five years three months to a woman poacher on Wednesday. The CGM court convicted Dalipo, a Bawariya tribal woman, who has been notorious for her wildlife crimes in Kheri, Pilibhit and Kataraniaghat since 1992.
According to Dudhwa forest officials, this is the maximum conviction sentence in a tiger poaching case in the country. Dalipo was also slapped with a monetary fine of Rs 50,000. "This is an achievement for Dudhwa as it is the highest conviction sentence in tiger poaching," said Sanjay Pathak, deputy director, Dudhwa.
The conviction has come in a tiger poaching case that took place on January 7, 2007 in Kishenpur sanctuary under Dudhwa Tiger Reserve in Lakhimpur Kheri district. The tiger remains -- flesh and some portions of skin -- were recovered while bones were missing from the spot.
While about 8 to 10 kg of tiger flesh was found in Jhaditaal, another 25-30 kg was recovered from the banks of Sharda river. The flesh had been hidden in sand and covered with dry leaves. Some sacks filled with salt used for preservation of tiger remains were also found. The case was a sensitive one as one of the Kishenpur officers was chargesheeted and another got an adverse entry.
The convicted poacher 55-year-old Dalipo and her entire family is into poaching and trade of animal parts. At present, she is already serving a five-year jail term in Lakhimpur in connection with a tiger poaching incident in Pilibhit in 1992 for which she was convicted last year.
This was the first case when forest department had found her involved in tiger killing. She was arrested soon but released on bail. After that she was almost untraceable till forest officers caught her with a tiger skin and 17 kg of tiger bone on February 9, 2005 in Katarniaghat. She was caught with her daughter Kamla. Both were awarded nine months imprisonment in the particular case. The minimum imprisonment in wildlife crime case is 3 years and maximum imprisonment is seven years.
Barely a year after serving the nine-month sentence, Dapoli was again found involved in tiger poaching in January 2007 and was arrested. She has been in jail since then. Meanwhile in 2009, she was convicted in 1992 Pilibhit case and was awarded five-year sentence. "Her entire family is in poaching," said Tito Joseph, programme manager, Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI). The forest department had sought WPSI's help in solving the 2007 case.
Her son Jitmaal, daughter Kamla and brother Totha Ram are notorious poachers. The family has been active in terai areas killing tigers in Uttar Pradesh and Uttrakhand. Totha Ram has also been convicted twice in August 2004 and November 2009. But currently he is out on bail.
The tribal bawariyas have a central Indian origin but they have now spread over to almost all tiger areas. Bawariyas have a well defined way of killing a tiger, mostly targeting big cats close to water sources in forest. "They also split in groups and act in defined pockets," said Joseph.
While these people do not think twice before killing a tiger for any paltry sum of money, it is their thorough understanding of the wild and precision with which they kill a tiger that makes them the most sought-after in the trade. They set a trap from which a tiger can never free itself. Bawariyas revisit the place and make the trapped tiger to roar by nudging it with a long stick. As soon as it opens the mouth they force that stick in its mouth to stifle it. With so many men attacking from all sides, the helpless big cat has no chance to escape the painful end.