Morigaon (Assam): An enquiry has been ordered by the Morigaon district administration into the alleged flouting of rules inside Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary by senior Assam officers, an official said on Tuesday.

Forest Minister Chandra Mohan Patowary is expected to visit the sanctuary during the day to look into the matter, he said.

Two IAS officers and an IPS officer, along with their families, had visited the sanctuary on Sunday. One of the officers allegedly sat on the bonnet of a safari jeep and smoked cigarettes, while others alighted from the vehicles, both actions prohibited inside the protected forest.

The Jeep Safari Owners’ Association of Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary had on Monday written to Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma seeking an enquiry into the incident.

They claimed that one commissioner-level officer and his friends (the other officers) and their families had alighted from the jeeps inside the sanctuary.

The commissioner-level officer had sat on the bonnet of the jeep and smoked cigarettes, they claimed.

The association said getting off vehicles and smoking cigarettes are prohibited inside the wildlife sanctuary.

It claimed that when the jeep drivers and other staffers tried to prevent the visitors, the officers verbally abused them.

Local TV channels showed purported CCTV footage of the officers and their families inside the sanctuary, with one of them seen smoking a cigarette.

The authenticity of the videos, however, could not be independently verified by PTI.

The district deputy commissioner on Monday ordered a magistrate-level enquiry into the matter.

An official of the sanctuary, speaking on condition of anonymity, said if the allegations are true, there have been violations of wildlife protection laws.

“The truth will come out after the enquiry, the process for which has already started,” he said.

He added that the forest minister will also look into the allegations during his visit.

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