Police have arrested three officials in connection with the killing of more than 250 cattle egrets by the Tangla Municipal Board in Assam’s Udalguri district.

Police arrested three officials of the Tangla Municipal Board including executive officer Santanu Das based on a complaint filed by the forest department.

Sources said the arrested persons have been sent to 14-day judicial custody.

The egrets were killed after the Tangla Municipal Board felled bamboo trees based on claims that the groove which nestled the egret colony for years was a source of Covid-19 due to the birds’ droppings.

In an order on June 8 signed by the executive officer of Tangla Municipal Board, five families of ward number 1 of Tangla town were informed that the egret birds’ dropping on their bamboo groves has “created an unhygienic environment” and have added to the risk of spreading coronavirus.” Therefore the bamboo groves in your area shall be felled to create a healthy living condition.”

Assam chief minister Himanta Biswa Sarma ordered a probe into the incident after it sparked outrage on social media.

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