Updated: August 20, 2020 1:29:39 pm
The UT forest and wildlife department Wednesday arrested a famous tattoo artist, Kamaljit Singh, and his manager, Deepak, for confining a sub-adult rhesus macaque (monkey) in captivity and exhibiting it by sharing its picture along with him on his Instagram account. Singh owns Kamzinkzone tattoo studio in Sector 35. The artist was also accused of forcing the monkey to drink a red coloured liquid, claimed to be wine.
However, Singh denied the allegation claiming the liquid was apple juice mixed with pomegranate juice. The two were arrested under sections 9, 39 and 50 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
As Singh came to know about the investigation against him, he deleted all pictures of him along with rhesus macaque from his Instagram account.
A team of UT wildlife department conducted surprise checking at his workplace in Sector 35 and at his native house in Jalandhar district, but nothing was found. Rhesus macaque is the Schedule-2 protected wild animal under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
The UT forest and wildlife department also lodged a police complaint against the artist with Chandigarh Police at Sector 36 police station. Sources said the basic complaint against the artist was filed by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) before Chief Wild Life Warden, Chandigarh, Debandra Dalai, IFS, and DCF, Dr Abdul Qayum.
Sources said artist Kamaljit Singh was questioned twice. He claimed to be innocent. But the evidence, including screen shots of his Instagram posts and video clips, go against him. He claimed that he had rescued the monkey in injured condition near Kasauli in Himachal months before the lockdown. He claimed that as he came to know that confining a monkey is a crime under the Wildlife Protection Act, he released the animal.
Dalai said, “We cannot trust the version of suspected tattoo artist. Our investigation indicates that the monkey was hidden by him somewhere. The artist is under the investigation. We take the assistance of our counterparts in Punjab for checking his house in Jalandhar.”
When contacted, artist Kamaljit Singh, who has a tattoo studio in Sector 35, said, “I had rescued the monkey in injured condition from Kasauli road. The animal developed affection with me. I shared pictures of myself with the monkey on my Instagram. The drink, which was being offered by me in one of the pictures and video clips, was mixed juice of apple and pomegranate. I had released the monkey after receiving a call from a Delhi-based woman, who informed me that keeping a monkey in captivity is a crime against wildlife.”
Garima Ozas, emergency response coordinator, PETA, stated, “This case is about a captive monkey who is being kept as companion by a tattoo artist. The perpetrator has been posting photos and videos of the monkey on Instagram which got the people’s attention, and some of them complained to PETA India sharing concerns that a protected wild animal has been captured and kept in captivity illegally, and is being used for entertainment. One of the videos posted by the tattoo artist also shows the monkey being offered red coloured liquid, claimed to be wine.
PETA India shot off a complaint letter to Dr Abdul Qayum, Deputy Conservator of Forest. We requested the Forest Department and Chandigarh Police to register an offence under Section 9 read with Section 2 (16) (b), Sections 39 and 51 of Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 for illegally capturing and keeping custody of a protected wild animal. Our complaint also requests the police to include Sections 3, 11(1)(a), 22(ii) and 38(3) of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960.”
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