In a second big rescue of camels within a month, the Jharkhand forest department seized a truck containing 15 camels, which were to be sent to Bangladesh, and arrested nine persons allegedly involved in the exercise. The forest department officials say their “bigger challenge” is to find a place to keep these animals.
The vehicle carrying camels was coming from Haryana and was en route to Malda in West Bengal from where the animals were to be sent to Bangladesh, officials said.
A total of nine persons – including three people who were traveling in the camel laden vehicle, while six other persons who had come to bribe the forest official, who rescued the camel – have been arrested, officials said.
Divisional forest officer (DFO), Pakur, Rajnish Kumar, said, “Fifteen camels were rescued in the intervening night of Tuesday and Wednesday. Now, we have a bigger challenge to keep these animals, as we neither have a dedicated shelter for these animals nor trained people to handle them.”
The forest range officer, Pakur, Anil Kumar Singh, said, “I received a tip off about the illegal transportation of camels around midnight. I, along with my team, rushed to the spot and rescued the animals.”
He said the driver, helper and a labourer, who were in the vehicle, were arrested. “During the investigation, they said the heavy vehicle containing the camels was coming from Haryana. The driver and helper, who drove the vehicle from Haryana, got down at Fatehpur Sikri in Uttar Pradesh and handed over the vehicle to another driver and helper. The driver said his duty was to drive the vehicle to Malda in West Bengal,” Singh said.
Singh further said, “In the early hours on Wednesday, I received a call that requested me to leave the vehicle in lieu of money. Six persons in an SUV came to bribe me and offered ₹20,000. We arrested all six persons and seized the SUV and bribe amount. The process of lodging FIR is on.”
Earlier, on January 12, the forest division had seized a truck containing 14 camels. Two camels had already died in the truck, while two others died two days after the rescue due to inhuman transportation of the camels. The animals were being smuggled from Mewat in Rajasthan and transported to Bangladesh, forest officials said.
Since Jharkhand doesn’t have proper climate and shelter to keep these rescued camels, People for Animals (PFA), an NGO, has expressed willingness to take back the animals to Rajasthan, as it has a camel rehabilitation shelter in Rajasthan’s Sirohi area.
PFA officer, Rana Ghosh said, “As per the animal transportation rule, these animals need to be vaccinated before taking them to Rajasthan. Once it is completed, we will take them to our rehabilitation centre.”
Ghosh said, “Camels are transported from Rajasthan to Haryana. From there, they are transported to Bangladesh through Uttar Pradesh and Jharkhand. Generally, it is the job of police to track such illegal transportation. However, the forest department is doing police’s job in Jharkhand.”