The Chittorgarh, Rajasthan police on a tip-off received from an animal activist, Neha Patel, have rescued 52 camels while they were being illegally transported for slaughter.
While the police seized two trucks with 18 camels each as the trucks stopped to pay toll tax at the toll plaza, they discovered that another had just passed from there a while back. One camel was found dead in the vehicle which was caught. The bypass was then barricaded by the police and the third truck was also intercepted. 16 camels were found crammed in it.
The police arrested six men, namely, Shakeel, Shakir, Zakar, Zakir and Wasim, all residents of Uttar Pradesh and Mewat region in connection to the same.
Neha Patel, while speaking to Swarajya said that she came to know about the illegal smuggling from her ‘informers’. She learnt that the camels were smuggled from a fair at Rajasthan’s Didwana and were being taken to Madhya Pradesh’s Indore for slaughter. Once slaughtered in Indore, their meat would have been distributed in other areas.
Patel furthered that since camel’s meat is high in demand, particularly in cities like Hyderabad and Bangalore and even in Kerala and Aurangabad, camel smuggling is gaining prominence.
In a report published in February this year, senior board official of Animal Welfare Board of India, Sudarshan Kaushik was quoted saying, “in the past few years, camels have been smuggled out of their natural desert habitat in Rajasthan, in and across the country for their meat“.
Kaushik had specified that in the past one year, more than 700 camels have been saved from being illegally slaughtered in far-off southern and eastern states of the country such as Bihar, West Bengal, Jharkhand, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Assam, transported back and rehabilitated to their natural habitat in Rajasthan.
Speaking to the media, Kaushik said the flourishing smuggling business generates crores of black money every year and funds cross-border terrorism, posing a threat to national security.
Even as the incidents of camel smuggling rise in Rajasthan, the Animal Welfare Board of India said that despite the strict legal provisions, the state government is not being able to curb the camel smuggling, which is posing a further major challenge as camels have been declared as an endangered species by the Rajasthan government.
Last year it was reported that sixteen camels stuffed in a truck were rescued at Sedwa village in Barmer district of Rajasthan, just a few kilometres away from the Pakistan border. The camels were purchased locally by the butchers in ones and twos, and assembled in Sedwa village. Similarly in February this year, West Bengal had foiled an attempt to smuggle 12 camels from North India to Bangladesh.