Meghalaya | Wildlife trafficking case: Investigation stalled as accused under quarantine



The Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division is yet to ascertain the possible link between the three traffickers, who were arrested recently from Khanduli village in West Jaintia Hills (WJH) district of Meghalaya, with any trafficking gang operating in the Northeastern region.

According to an official source from the Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division, the three accused are currently under quarantine hence, the connection is yet to be established.

"The case is still under investigation. We couldn't proceed ahead with the case since the accused are still under quarantine," said the source.

Officials from the Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division had arrested three wildlife traffickers from Khanduli village on November 11 and, recovered a pregnant Indian Pangolin and Pangolin scales from their possession.

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The Indian Pangolin is an animal under the Schedule-I of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972. Hunting or harming such an animal will attract serious criminal sanctions which may result in jail for up to seven years and a fine of up to twenty-five thousand rupees.

According to a Meghalaya-based news portal- Syllad, a trap was laid by a team of officials from the Jaintia Hills Wildlife Division with the help of police officials at Khanduli, a village bordering Assam on November 11, after inputs were received on the movement of traffickers from West Karbi Anglong district (Assam) to West Jaintia Hills district (Meghalaya).

Officials managed to nab these three persons, suspected to be interstate wildlife traffickers and, recovered the live animals from their possession. The trio has been identified as Serus Bhoi, Francis Lamare and Arki Lamare, all residents of Namdong-B village under Thadlaskein in WJH.

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Meanwhile, Forest and Environment minister James PK Sangma has commended the efforts of the forest officials and asked them to maintain the highest vigilance to track down any such traffickers and take the strictest of legal actions against them.

"Our state is naturally blessed with flora and fauna and, hence we take such incidents extremely seriously... We remain committed to not only protecting our beautiful state but also cracking down heavily on any person who engages in disrupting our environmental harmony," Sangma wrote on his official Facebook Page.