Corbett peace disturbed.

The irresponsible attitude of some tourists visiting Corbett National Park created chaos when a group of them thrashed a jeep driver and a guide who protested when they were flouting park regulations.

Police had to resort to firing bullets in the air to disperse a crowd of guides and locals who roughed up the tourists in retaliation when they came out of the park. The tourists, who hail from Delhi, have been fined a sum of `10,000 by the national park authorities.

A group of young men and women from a college in the Capital entered Bijrani tourist zone of Corbett National Park in a hired jeep on Sunday. When they were in a sensitive forest area, two male tourists got down from the jeep and climbed on the bonnet of the vehicle, apparently to click photographs.

When the driver of the jeep told them that they were breaking the rules and directed them to get back inside the vehicle, the men started misbehaving with the driver. When the guide, Shailendra Rawat, tried to help him, both were beaten up by the tourists.

When the locals and guides learnt about the incident they gathered at the Amdanda gate of the park. Fearing trouble, local police also reached the spot. When the tourists came out of the park, they were manhandled by the group which even resisted the police. Seeing the situation snowballing out of control, police fired three rounds of bullets in the air to control the situation.

National park director Ranjan Kumar Mishra and Kotwal RK Farswan reached the site. Mishra found the tourists guilty of flouting park regulations and fined them `10,000. All brochures and signboards inside the park direct visitors not to leave their vehicles inside the national park area. Observers say the incident has exposed the irresponsible attitude of tourists many of whom often consume alcohol inside the park which is strictly banned.

In our last visit last February, we halted a day at Gairal and have witnessed liquor being consumed to some young lads from Delhi and around. Upon enquiring, we learned that “Sab milta hai, Sahib, Chahiye kya?” We fail to understand in which ways does someone’s pride gets heightened by breaking restrictions. Do they feel smart by saying – “I have not followed such and such guidelines”. Typical Ego maintenance crisis.

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