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Monday, July 17, 2017

Animal Trafficking Is Helping Terrorism Grow Despite Demonetisation

Illegal camel trade and terrorism are seldom mentioned in the same breath. A car rally was held in the national capital on February 2 by NGOs Dhyan Foundation and People For Animals (PFA) to protest atrocities on animals and the illegal trade of animals smuggled into Bangladesh via Bihar and West Bengal.

“United Humans Against Atrocities on Animals” was the theme of the rally, which started at Kasturba Gandhi Marg and made its first stop at the office of the resident commissioner for West Bengal at Baba Kharak Singh Marg - moving on to Bihar Bhawan in Chanakyapuri.


“Mafia-Police Nexus–Bandh Karo Bandh Karo” read one of the banners.

"The growing police-mafia nexus is costing us animal and human lives and aiding terror funding. Some from the police and the administration are a great help, but the majority does not want to enforce the law. We, or our volunteers, have no security and are constantly under threat,” said Nikita Anand, spokesperson for Dhyan Foundation.

Animal trafficking and terrorism are seldom mentioned in the same breath, perhaps that is the reason why the former is flourishing in India and across the border.

Since November 8, 2016, there has been a clampdown on black money, but there has been no significant impact on animal trafficking - as they are traded for arms and drugs, not cash. The maximum number of camels have been caught near the Bangladesh and Pakistan borders. "Why? This is a national issue concerning the security of the country,” pointed out Kaushik of Gau Gyan Foundation, a participant at the rally.

“Thanks to police inaction, lakhs of camels and cows have already been slaughtered in and around the Bangladesh border. One camel costs Rs one lakh, so you can imagine the money being generated and the fake currency entering the country. Here we could give an example of Kishanganj in Bihar, where 61 camels were rescued two months ago but the case remains in a limbo - not allowing the camels to return to their natural habitat in Rajasthan," says Poonam Kapoor, an animal rights activist who has spent the last two months fighting a legal battle for rescued camels in Kishanganj, Bihar.

These animals are slaughtered for meat across the border.

There are similar reports from the India-Pakistan border off Rajasthan where 16 camels were rescued. Several other batches of camels too were caught in the area. What were the animals doing there?

"It is an organised mafia generating black money, and a threat to India and this is why we are carrying out this rally and protesting,” Kapoor explains.

“The honourable prime minister has taken path-breaking steps against black money to curtail terrorism, I request him to go to the root of cattle and camel smuggling into Bangladesh. It generates trillions in black money and guns come in via these routes. It funds terrorism directly and this is well-known fact,” said Yogi Ashwini of Dhyan Foundation.

The camel has been declared as an endangered species by the International Union for Conservation of Nature and Natural Resources (IUCN). Recent cases of camel trafficking alone should alarm the government:

1. Kishanganj (Bihar): 61 camels rescued by two activists fighting a legal battle against trafficking mafia.

2. Kishanganj (Bihar): 71 cattle saved by SSB at the India-Nepal border.

3. Islampur (West Bengal): 36 camels rescued by Dhyan Foundation volunteers in the hub of trafficking mafia near the India-Bangladesh border. The camels are safely transported to Sirohi.

4. Malda (West Bengal): Rescue of 60 camels, reportedly being smuggled to Bangladesh for illegal slaughtering.

5. Jodhpur and Kotputli (Rajasthan): 60 camels in Jodhpur and 13 in Kotputli were rescued near the India-Bangladesh border.

6. Gurgaon (Haryana): More than 100 camels found in Gurgaon en route Dasna, UP for slaughter.

7. Ghaziabad (Uttar Pradesh): 13 camels were rescued in Ghaziabad.

Needless to say, if the government is serious about curbing terrorism and protecting its natural wealth, it needs to take on animal trafficking head-on and spare no perpetrator.
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