NE gangs feed elephant meat to ultras
HindustanTimes.com has unearthed the sale of canned elephant meat in Meghalaya, confirming fears among wildlife activists that organised gangs control the trade in India's North-East.india Updated: Mar 17, 2004 01:08 IST
HindustanTimes.com has unearthed the sale of canned elephant meat in Meghalaya, confirming fears among wildlife activists that organised gangs control the trade in India's North-East.
The canning is rudimentary and make-do, but it does show that unknown to the police, a structure has formed around the illegal business with a chain of people to make it work.
Sonna (name changed), the Mizo butcher whose Happy Valley shop in Shillong yielded the meat recently, gets his "weekly supplies …through a dealer (unidentified) who engages local people to run canning units from their houses". Sonna thinks the dealer has a distribution network besides links to hunters based in Garo Hills, West Meghalaya.
"It is almost like a cottage industry", says Wildlife Trust of India (WTI) director Vivek Menon. "The meat, which is hacked from elephants after they are stalked and killed, is smoked, made into powder and tinned, before being sold to either familiar customers in open markets or indented and supplied house-to-house."
Many hills people of the North-East including the Mizos, the Nagas, the Daflas, the Adis and the Chakmas have had a history of eating elephants that are found dead. The entry of the gangs, however, has changed that practice. Now the gangs chasing easy money are killing elephants indiscriminately to stock the meat markets in the region. (Currently, most of the killing takes place in Meghalaya, parts of Assam bordering Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh and Tripura.)