Buy and sale of elephants in Assam is ‘legally authorized’ – and even a dead man can sell his elephant in this State.
As per Section 43 of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, sale and purchase of elephants is a crime in India.
And, if anyone is caught buying or selling an elephant, he or she will be imprisoned for seven years, along with a fine of Rs 10,000.
But, the rules seem to exist only in papers. And, sale and purchase of elephants in Assam is still going on openly.
One affidavit of sale of an elephant is in possession of Northeast Now, and it clearly showed that one Nandeswar Moran, son of Ratneswar Moran of Raiding village near Doomdooma in Tinsukia sold his 18-month old elephant.
The affidavit said Nandeswar Moran sold the 18-month old female elephant calf Pushpa/Pakhili to Md Mumtaj Siddiqui, son of Late Tenishur Rahman of Chinglijan village near Borhapjan in Tinsukia district.
The affidavit said the baby elephant was born on January 7, 2001 and the mother was Bhogmala.
It said the baby elephant was sold and delivered to the buyer (Md. Mumtaj Siddiqui) on July 5, 2002.
The affidavit was endorsed on June 25, 2016 by one P N Gogoi, (Notary registration number 3) of Tinsukia district, and the witness of the agreement, was a lawyer in Tinsukia.
A notary public is a public officer constituted by law to serve the public in non-contentious matters usually concerned with estates, deeds, powers-of-attorney, and foreign and international business.
In fact, Nandeswar Moran, who sold the baby elephant on July 5, 2002, and signed the sale agreement on June 25, 2016, actually died in his own residence on October 12, 1993.
The death certificate of Nandeswar Moran, issued by the Registrar of Births and Deaths of Tinsukia district, is in possession of Northeast Now.
How can a person, who died in October 1993, sell his elephant in 2002, and sign the affidavit in June 2016?
Interestingly, the baby elephant was bought by notorious wildlife smuggler Md Mumtaj Siddiqui.
Mumtaj Siddiqui was responsible for selling 12 wild elephants caught from the Charaipung Reserve Forest to buyers outside Assam.
He was arrested on June 29, 2016, four days after the signing of the sale affidavit in Tinsukia.
Meanwhile, Nandeswar Moran’s brother Moneswar Moran was also in news recently.
Moneswar Moran is the owner of the male juvenile elephant Babulal. Permission was granted by the Assam Forest Department to transport Babulal (along with three others) to the Jagannath Temple in Ahmedabad.
But because of legal intricacies and the heat wave in North India, the Assam Forest Department on Thursday kept in abeyance the permission to transport the four juvenile elephants to Ahmedabad.