Police on Monday arrested a rhino horn smuggler from Demow area of Sivasagar district and busted an inter-state rhino horn smuggling racket .
“We got secret information from our source that a man has illegally acquired rhino horn with him. We arrested him from his residence and seized the horn weighing 1.5 kg from the smuggler who was identified as Kapil Kahar, a resident of Salmari village near Demow town,” Prafulla Sonowal, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Sivasagar told Northeast Now.
He said that several fake gold bullions and fake currency printing machineries were also recovered from Kahar’s residence during the operation.
“During preliminary interrogation Kahar admitted before us that he had intended to sell the rhino horn in Dimapur through his own network but had postponed the idea because of tight security along the Assam-Nagaland border in view of the Nagaland assembly polls,” Sonowal said. Police suspect that Kahar may be involved in the racket since many times.
“Generally a rhino horn has heavy demand in the international market and many of them involved in the illegal business to make crores of rupees,” DSP said.
According to sources, the horns of rhinos are transported to other countries.
“The horns of majority of rhinos poached in Assam find its way to Dimapur from where these are sold through the porous India-Myanmar border. The horns are smuggled to Myanmar through the border town of Moreh in Manipur. Further, the organ is transported to China, Vietnam and other Southeast Asian countries where it is used for making medicines,” a source said. Chinese believe that the rhino horns have medicinal benefits and they try their best to procure rhino horns.
Assam has almost two-third of world’s one-horned rhino population spread across Kaziranga National Park, Orang National Park and Pobitora Wildlife Sanctuary. Due to high demand for its horn in the grey market, rhinos in the state remain vulnerable to poaching.
So far the police and forest department had seized more than 2,000 rhino horns from across the state. In 2016, the rhino horn verification committee constituted by the Assam government to verify the genuineness of the rhino horns examined 2,038 rhino horns kept in custody of twelve treasuries of the state. Five horns turned out to be fake during the verification.