Cattle smuggling re-surfaces in Meghalaya; BSF official reveals possible link with insurgency
Cattle smuggling in Meghalaya has re-surfaced and is increasing in border villages of East Khasi Hills (EKH), West Jaintia Hills (WJH) and East Jaintia Hills (EKH), officials from the Border Security Force (BSF) said on Friday.
The BSF has also carried out continuous operations in these areas, especially in areas close to the Indo-Bangladesh border.
In a series of such operations, the BSF on Friday, November 20, apprehended six Indian nationals near Dawki (EKH) suspected of being involved in cattle smuggling and seized 53 heads of cattle in different operations.
They also seized a truck transporting cattle during the drive.
“The preliminary questioning report of arrested persons revealed that these cattle were transported from Guwahati (Khanapara) in Assam and comprised various cattle breeds which are generally not found in the North-Eastern state,” stated a release issued by the BSF on Friday.
The BSF also informed that the arrested persons also disclosed a new modus operandi adopted while transporting the cattle to deceive police personnel on duty at various checkpoints, including the inter-state border along the National highway.
“To tackle this menace, BSF has again urged the state concerned authorities to conduct joint operations in these areas and also place checkpoints at suitable locations,” the released stated.
CATTLE SMUGGLING LINKED WITH DRUG SMUGGLING AND INSURGENCY
A study on cattle smuggling also revealed links to drug smuggling in the state and that they use the money generated for funding remnant insurgent groups active in Meghalaya, officials said.
According to an official source, the arrested individuals are, but pawns and they are only carriers.
“The security force is trying to track down the main suppliers and the master-minds,” the source said.
The fact that herds of cattle are being smuggled from Punjab or Haryana to Meghalaya raises a question on the role of the law enforcers who man the check-points at the inter-state borders.
When asked about the link between cattle smuggling and insurgency in the region, the official informed that they have received unconfirmed reports that most of the cadres belonging to the proscribed Hynniewtrep National Liberation Council (HNLC), a banned militant outfit of Meghalaya, now reportedly based in Bangladesh, are involved in cattle smuggling.
“The money generated from there is being used to fund the outfit,” the official said.
(Edited by Ibankyntiew Mawrie)