Four days after some miscreants had killed a number of migratory birds in Jatinga – a tribal village in Assam’s Dima Hasao district famous for its bird suicide mystery – the district magistrate on Thursday ordered a magisterial inquiry into the incident and called for permanent measures to protect birds there.
Dima Hasao deputy commissioner Dhruba Jyoti Hazarika in an order said while imposition of Section 144 of the CrPC was only a temporary measure to tackle the immediate situation, Jatinga required a series of permanent and lasting measures to ensure that the large number of migratory birds that arrive there during the winter season were protected.
Jatinga also required a mechanism involving the villagers to protect the birds which in turn attract hundreds of tourists during the winter and thus enhance income of the villagers, deputy commissioner Hazarika said.
“Jatinga needs a joint effort involving the forest department, villagers and the Autonomous Council to protect the migratory birds,” Hazarika, who called for the report of the magisterial inquiry within 15 days, said.
The forest department had on October 22 filed an FIR with the Haflong police station saying a large number of migratory birds were caught and killed in Jatinga in the preceding few days, with villagers complaining that two persons – one of them a Brazilian national – were paying cash incentives to them to poach the birds.
Ten kms from Haflong – which is Assam’s only hill station – Jatinga is known for its strange phenomenon of birds getting attracted to bright lamps on foggy winter evenings. About 340 km from Guwahati, Jatinga is a major attraction for tourists in general and bird-watchers in particular. Bird species that are most frequent visitors to Jatinga include tiger bittern, black bittern, little egret, pond heron, Indian pitta, kingfisher, hill partridge, green pigeon, emerald dove, necklaced laughing thrush and black drongo. A tribal village, Jatinga is also one of the first villages in Assam to have attained 100 per cent literacy several decades ago.