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Jumbo-smuggling racket: 200 elephants illegally sold outside Northeast

Around 200 elephants from the Northeast were victims of a thriving smuggling racket that illegally sold them to different states outside the region in recent years.

Jumbo-smuggling racket

Sentinel Digital DeskBy : Sentinel Digital Desk

  |  30 Aug 2021 1:43 AM GMT

STAFF REPORTER

GUWAHATI: Around 200 elephants from the Northeast were victims of a thriving smuggling racket that illegally sold them to different states outside the region in recent years.

A case came to light during an investigation into two elephants that Forest officials seized when the racket was transporting the jumbos illegally from Arunachal Pradesh to Odisha via Assam in April 2021.

Sources in the Forest Department said that the kingpins of the elephant smuggling racket have links with a Nagaland racket that supplies fake documents on ownership of jumbos illegally trapped in the wild.

"As there is a ban on the sale of captive elephants, the smugglers in Assam use these fake documents for inter-state transfer of jumbos. The racket sells the elephants once it takes the pachyderms outside Assam," the source said. Elephants outside the Northeast are in high demand for religious rituals and other purposes. Meanwhile, the Gauhati High Court has given its verdict regarding the rescue of two elephants – Lakhi Prasad and Hari Prasad – seized during their illegal transportation from Arunachal Pradesh to Odisha through Assam April this year on commercial consideration.

A single-judge bench of the High Court comprising Justice Rumi Kumari Phukan has quashed an earlier order by additional sessions judge, No. 2 (FTC), Tinsukia, which had given the custody of the elephants to Chow Sonjit Pomong, the accused, hailing from Arunachal Pradesh. The elephants are currently with the Assam Forest Department at the Kaziranga National Park. The Doomdooma Divisional Forest officer seized these two jumbos during their transportation from Lathao in the Namsai district of Arunachal Pradesh to one Rabindra Kumar Singh of Shastri Nagar of Semiliguda in Koraput district of Odisha.

Also Read: Two Elephants Get Shelter In Kaziranga National Park, Courtesy Gauhati HC

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