Guwahati: Taking note of Public Interest Litigation (PIL) and concern of wildlife activists, the Northeast Frontier Railway (NFR) has decided to put on hold the ongoing process of transporting four captive elephants from Upper Assam’s Tinsukia district to Ahmedabad in Gujarat.
Two NGO activists, in its PIL, argued that dispatch of the elephants in railway wagons in the prevailing heat-wave conditions in North Indian states, would subject the animals to extreme stress, pain and cruelty and they may not survive the long journey of 3,106kms, which would take several days to traverse.
Though, Northeast Frontier Railways authorities had made all arrangement of wagon to transfer the animals, the officials said that the Railways has written to the forest department, seeking a clarification on the matter in view of the Supreme Court’s 2016 ruling against inter-state transfer of elephants.
The PIL has been filed by two NGO activists—- Urmi Mala Das and Nandini Baruah. The petitioners have contended that the decision of the state government, allowing transfer of elephants, is in violation of the relevant provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972 and relevant orders of the Supreme Court in this regard. The four elephants belong to private owners. It appears that two of the said four elephants were not captive born but were caught from the wild and domesticated. Micro-chips on the two elephants were implanted in June 2015 and ownership certificates and ownership certificates for the said two elephants were issued for their transportation to Ahmedabad. Moreover, section 43(1) of the Wild Life Act, 1972, states no person having in his control and possession a captive animal, in respect of which he has a certificate of ownership, shall transfer such captive animal by any mode of consideration.