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Wednesday, October 31, 2012

'Give forester killed in tiger attack status of martyr'

TNN | Oct 31, 2012, 06.04AM IST JAIPUR: Stunned by the sudden death of assistant forester Gheesu Singh in a tiger attack on last Thursday, the Rajasthan Forest Subordinate Services Union has demanded status of martyr for all foresters who die on duty. The union has given a written memorandum to chief minister Ashok Gehlot and forest and tourism minister Bina Kak. Gheesu Singh was attacked by a tiger while he was on duty at the Ranthambore national park. The tiger, identified as T-24, pounced on him, caught him by the neck and dragged him away to a bush about 25 metres away. Reports suggest that Gheesu Singh was walking between two groups of labourers who had gone to the forest to repair a road. Singh died instantly. According to sources in the forest department, "The union has demanded the status of martyr on the lines of policemen who are granted the status when they die on duty. Our services are equally fraught with danger. We have to often go into perilous terrains to protect forests and wildlife. In such a situation we must also be given the status of martyr if any of us gets killed on duty." Gheesu Singh was a resident of Amrapura village on the Samod Ki Balaji road in Chomu. He is survived by three sons, an aging father and a wife. "I have been to his house and the family's condition is pathetic. Gheesu Singh was the only earning member in the family. His youngest son is paralyzed and terminally ill. His eldest son is pursuing graduation while the other is in class X. His father is 80 years old," said Rajpal Singh, member of state wildlife board. So far Gheesu Singh's family has been given Rs 20 lakh as a special measure by chief minister Ashok Gehlot and another Rs 4 lakh by forest department and the Ranthambore hotels association. Kak has also promised a government job for the next of kin of Gheesu Singh. In fact, the first voice for status of martyrdom was raised by DV Durrani of the Sariska Tiger Foundation. On the day of the attack Durrani demanded that the state call Gheesu Singh a martyr. "Gheesu Singh was a dedicated and a committed person. Moreover, he was on duty when the tiger attacked him. In such a situation policemen are given the status of a martyr so why should foresters not be treated similarly. More often than not they are exposed to similar or even more dangerous situations," he said. The demand for martyr's status for Gheesu Singh, the first forester to be killed in such a manner, has been gaining ground since the past week. "Even I will suggest to the state government as a member of the state wildlife board that in cases where an exemplary forester is killed on duty he should be given the status of a martyr and all such facilities that are given to a martyr should be granted to them as well," added Rajpal Singh.

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