Forest officials posed as buyers to bust 2 gangs : The Tribune India

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Forest officials posed as buyers to bust 2 gangs

Gangs from M'rashtra, Rajasthan used to sell body parts of wild animals to tourists, locals

Forest officials posed as buyers to bust 2 gangs

The animal body parts seized from two gangs operating in Chamba. Photo: Mani Verma



Naresh Thakur

Chamba, May 16

Following a two-week operation by forest officials here, two members of gangs hailing from Pune in Maharashtra and Rajasthan were arrested in Khajjiar recently. The operation was led by Chief Conservator of Forests Abhilash Damodran by tracking the movements of the suspects.

The first breakthrough occurred when two members of a gang attempted to sell animal body parts to Damodran, who was posing as a potential buyer. Damodran and his team seized hemipenes, called “Hatha-Jodi” of monitor lizard, musk pods of musk deer and Siyar Singhi (locally called Gidar Singhi) from the accused. Following this, on May 13, forest officials arrested four more persons of Rajasthani origin, living in the Balu locality of the town.

The two gangs were operating separately, with no apparent link between them.

The confiscated items recovered from the two gangs included five musk pods, 296 “siyar singhi” (jackal’s horns); 118 jackal nails; jackal spinal cord; 21 hemipenes and nine claws of monitor lizards; 50 pieces of animal skin, predominantly of jackals, and skin of Spectacled Cobra.

Damodran said members of the Pune gang seemed to be seasoned professionals, who even had a sharpshooter in their ranks to target wild animals. This group had left no district of Maharashtra untouched and before arriving in Chamba, they had been to Rampur in Shimla district.

“We are in touch with our Maharashtra counterparts and more arrests may take place in the days to come,” he said.

The Rajasthan group, he said, relied on primitive methods of hunting. They caught animals in snare trap and beat them to death. Their latest kill was in Nakrod of Chamba, where they had targeted a jackal whose half burnt skin was recovered.

Modus operandi

Chamba Divisional Forest Officer Kritagya Kumar, who was also part of the operation, said these gangs tricked tourists and locals by convincing them that possessing animal body parts could get them rid of all their problems, including relating to family disputes, jobs, money etc.

He said the forest authorities were now in the process of sending the samples of the seized animal body parts to the Forensic Science Labs of Wildlife Institute of India, Dehradun.

#Chamba #Maharashtra #Rajasthan


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