DOLPA, May 18: Twenty Yarsha smugglers, who had illegally entered a Yarsha-rich area in the mountainous Dolpa district, have been arrested by the police.
As informed by the officiating conservation officer at the Shey-Phoksundo National Park, Pramod Kumar Yadav, 16 men and four women were arrested from Dhadha Chaur Yarshapatan of Shey-Phoksundo National Park by a joint team of Nepal Army, National Park officials and Nepal Police.
The Shey-Phoksundo National Park confirmed all arrestees to be the residents of Jumla.
The arrestees are Surya Bohara, Bali Bahadur Bohara, Ekraj Budha, Munbir Budha, Khum Budha, Man Bahadur Yedi, Khadak Bohara, Kamal Budha, Dal Bahadur Thapa, Sushila Devi Budha and Karna Budha of Gothichaur Rural Municipality-2 and Patarasi Rural Municipality-5's Gorkha Budha.
Similarly, Jun Bahadur Mahatara, Kabita Mahatara, Sirjana Yedi, Sushila Basnet of Gothichaur Rural Municipality-1 and Kali Bahadur Thapa, Tapta Bahadur Thapa, and Janak Thapa of Tatopani Rural Municipality-8 were also arrested.
The police have collected 150 pieces of Yarsha, Rs 281,000 in cash, 18 kutos (small hoes), 18 sickles and a mobile phone. Further investigation into the matter is underway, according to the police.
The national park officials have justified the arrest by stating that the smugglers had entered the Yarsha-rich area before it could be officially opened for Yarsha collection. The Nepal Army and the national park officials have confirmed to have arrested a total of 52 such Yarsha smugglers since mid-April.