In a bizarre incident, a woman found an elephant buried in her plot of land in the Pamohi region of Guwahati on Sunday.
According to the woman, who wishes to remain anonymous, her caretaker visited her plot of land on Sunday. There, he found a mound of dirt and empty packets of salt strewn aside. With an inkling of some suspicious occurrence, the caretaker inquired a mahout who stays in the adjacent plot of wildlife activist Kaushik Barua, she said.
Allegedly, the elephant was staying on a plot owned by Barua along with his other elephants. The elephant buried on the plot died on November 7.
The owner, knowing that illegal activity took place in her plot of land without her information, immediately filed an FIR with the Gorchuk Police Station. Upon the intervention of ACP Nandini Kalita (Gorchuk PS in-charge) and other police and forest officials, it was found that the elephant belonged to one Ronnie Ahmed.
Ahmed and Barua buried the elephant without proper protocol. As a Schedule I animal, under Section 40 (2) of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, it is prohibited to possess, acquire, dispose of and transport a captive elephant without written permission of the Chief Wildlife Warden or the Authorized officer under the WPA, 1972. Hence, the secret burial of the elephant without informing the necessary authority is a serious offence.
“Ronnie Ahmed and Kaushik Barua buried the Elephant without following proper protocol, guidelines of elephant burial, or without my permission or any information. No post-mortem was conducted and no forest official was present at the time of the burial,” sated the complaint letter.
It is also alleged that the electronic chip embedded in the elephant had not been removed. Arup Kalita, Gorchuk Range Officer, who visited the spot on November 24 while talking with EastMojo said, “No domestic elephant is registered under my area of supervision, and I have not received any written complaint as of now.” Upon inquiring about the present status of the investigation, he refused to comment on it.
The elephant carcass has started to stink now, said the landowner. According to her, Barua is often entrusted with Elephant Conservation activities in the past. He has been designated as a Wildlife Warden of Guwahati by the Government on two occasions.