One of the camels rescued by Assam police a day before Eid-al-Adha died at the Dhula police station in Assam’s Darrang district Monday night.
Among the six camels smuggled into Assam from Rajasthan to be sacrificed during Eid on August 12, five had been sheltered at the Dhula police station, and another at the Mangaldoi police station. The animals were seized from Dhula market on August 10.
The camel’s death was probably due to a multitude of factors, and it had a worryingly thin frame, as evident in pictures. Police said veterinarians failed to find anything that might have led to the animal’s death - a post-mortem was conducted Tuesday morning.
It has been more than two weeks since the camels are waiting, along with police and Animal Welfare Board of India (AWBI) members, for a court ruling to get them safely back to the desert state.
"It died last night and was on medication. The other five camels are doing fine. We are taking care of them though it is not our responsibility. We are waiting for the court order on August 30, and once the camels are handed over to AWBI, they can be repatriated safely to their home state," said Amrit Bhuyan, Superintendent of Police, Darrang.
The animals are being kept in an open area within the police station, and are surviving on Ber leaves and hay.
"The local weather is not suited for camels. Despite my repeated requests, the camels are being kept under open sky since August 10. They are all under stress and infected by maggots on their nose, feet and body," said Sujeet Kumar Choudhary, a member of the State Animal Welfare Board, Rajasthan.
Police said that a lower court had earlier ordered the camels to be handed over to the trader who had sought their custody.
“A lower court had ordered the camels to be handed over to the trader, but we moved a revision petition before the District and Sessions Judge requesting that the camels be handed over to AWBI – that is yet to be approved, and the court judgement is scheduled for Friday,” said SP Bhuyan.
The six camels were shoved into a truck under inhumane conditions and brought to Assam for slaughter. Police added they are trying to ascertain the smuggling pattern and route from Rajasthan to Assam.Despite the anti-smuggling act in place, illegal trade of camel continues unabated in Rajasthan. The camel was declared the state animal of Rajasthan in 2016 and Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) Act, 2015 was implemented to ban the slaughter and transportation of the animal to other states.