Cattle deaths in Assam amid legal battle

Cattle deaths in Assam amid legal battle over smuggling allegation

The cattle seized in Rangiya in Assam on February 25. (DH photo)

At least 41 have cattle died as the legal battle to decide the ownership and allegation of smuggling continues in Assam with a Delhi-based NGO seeking a CBI inquiry into the long problem of smuggling to Bangladesh and Myanmar through Northeast.

A total of 690 cattle including 78 buffalo were seized from 21 trucks by a team of Sashatra Seema Baal (SSB) near Rangiya in Kamrup district on February 25. At least 25 persons were also detained along with the cattle. 

Dilwar Hussain and six other persons moved the court of sub-divisional judicial magistrate seeking custody of the cattle. Dhyan Foundation, a New Delhi-based NGO opposed their plea alleging that the cattle were meant for smuggling. They urged the court to allow them to keep the cattle in their gaushala keeping in mind the deteriorating condition of the cattle. The foundation, which works for the welfare of animals was represented by Ms Tankala Naga Chandrani. 

Jitul Deka, secretary, Asomiya Yuva Mancha, an Assam-based organisation also moved the court and opposed the plea for release of the cattle. 

 "At the time of seizure, no valid documents were found in the possession of persons present in the vehicles. The conditions of the cattle were very pathetic. A total of 690 cattle were kept in 21 vehicles in a very inhumane condition overlapping each other. Already 21 cattle died due to transportation of the cattle in such condition," said Amit Goyel, a lawyer, who represented Deka.  

On Friday the court issued an order in which it refused to hand over the cattle to Dilwar Hussain and six others and instead asked the administration to keep the cattle in Dhyan Foundation's care till ownership of the cattle was decided. 

"Protection of Animal from Cruelty Act says when an animal is seized under this act, the magistrate may direct the animal to be kept in pinjarpole or with any animal welfare organisation. Also, Hussain and six others could not produce valid documents at the time of the seizure of the animals, so it created doubt over their claim," said court's order. 

Deka submitted before the Court that entire modus operandi suggested that it was a case of smuggling of the cattle to neighbouring Bangladesh. 

Citing this case, Dhyan Foundation later filed a PIL in Gauhati High Court and sought the court's intervention for a CBI inquiry into the long problem of cattle smuggling through the borders in the Northeast with Bangladesh and Myanmar. "Every day a large number of cattle are smuggled to Bangladesh and Myanmar and under the name of cattle smuggling, other serious criminal activities also take place. The money generated out of this illegal cattle smuggling is pumped into terror activities. Cattle are the wealth of the nation, our nation’s economy is largely dependent upon the agriculture and cattle are therefore the backbone of our nation," it said. 

The high court on March 4 registered the PIL and issued notices to the concerned government agencies seeking their replies regarding the allegations. 

DH Newsletter Privacy Policy Get top news in your inbox daily
Comments (+)