News & Information From Northeast India

Laden’s fanfare capture and death in custody…whom to blame?

A wild elephant, supposedly a rogue and a killer of humans, was ‘heroically’ captured with much fanfare in Goalpara, was tied and lifted by crane and shifted to Orang National Park.

There was applause and somebody received a heroic ovation from a charmed crowd of humans.

We talk of ‘human’ behaviour in the context of treatment towards humans, but what about human behaviour towards animals, whose right to live on earth is no less than us humans! What kind of claps were those when the elephant was lifted by crane like a massive stone and the tormented animal became silent in lonely suffering?

Reportedly, even after tranquilizing the wild animal, kunkis were used to subdue him cruelly, surrounding and tormenting him, at the human instigation, as if in a dungeon.

Was he ‘Laden’, or was it some other elephant? And why Laden? Was this animal a terrorist like Osama Bin Laden, who deliberately planned to destroy human lives or was he a confused wanderer looking for safe habitat and felt danger from the predator humans?

What role did the Assam Forest Department play to nurse back the animal to health and give the tamed giant a sense of confidence? How could he die suddenly when he was supposed to be physically and psychologically rehabilitated?

Was the animal a male or a female? Sometime he is called Laden and sometimes Lakshmi. Whatever gender the animal was, it was the manner of capture and transfer that was most inhuman, and subsequent indifference by the Forest department has been a case of criminal negligence. A high level enquiry is called for. There should be fixation of responsibility. And we must learn a lesson from this incident that all lives have equal value.

The fully-grown wild elephant, named Laden, which was captured by a forest department team led by Assam BJP MLA Padma Hazarika on November 11, died at Orang National Park on Sunday.

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