Alleging that a camel slaughter racket is operating at Baghpat in Uttar Pradesh,MP Maneka Gandhi on Wednesday requested the Punjab and Haryana High Court to order a probe by a central agency into the matter.
Senior lawyer Anupam Gupta,appearing on behalf of Gandhi,alleged that a mafia was operating and owners were selling camels in animal fairs for slaughter. Seeking a probe by the Animal Welfare Board,Gupta told the court that after slaughtering the camels,their flesh was being sold in Meerut and Hyderabad and was also being exported to Bangladesh.
Artefacts are also being made from the bones of camels and marketed in Moradabad in UP, he said,adding that several communications highlighting the racket had been sent by Gandhi to the chief ministers of Haryana,Uttar Pradesh and Rajasthan.
The development took place during the hearing of a suo motu petition,in which the high court had issued notices to the Haryana Police and Gandhis animal shelter,
Sanjay Gandhi Animal Care Center in New Delhi,after a Gurgaon court referred the matter to it.
Suspecting a nexus between the Haryana Police and the animal shelter,the Gurgaon CJM had referred to an incident where eight persons had alleged that 68 camels owned by them had been seized by the police. They were arrested on the complaint of Gandhis shelter,which alleged that the camels were being taken for slaughter. They were booked them under Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act-1960.
The Gurgaon CJM,in an April order,had observed that the police had diluted the charges against the accused,who were later released on bail. The judge had added that the camels released to Gandhis animal shelter were not returned to the owners. The owners,on the other hand,had alleged that the animal shelter demanded Rs 24 lakh for feeding and preserving the camels for seven days. Following this,the Gurgaon court had recommended a probe by a central agency.
Refuting the accusations,Gupta told the court: The CJM,in her report,has suspected a racket. A racket there is,but of the opposite kind. The CJM has stood the truth on its head. Gupta gave an undertaking,on behalf of Gandhi,that not a single penny will be charged by the animal shelter for the camels upkeep.
Asking the parties to file affidavits,the HC on Wednesday directed Gandhis animal shelter to immediately release the 68 camels to its rightful owners. The court was futher informed that nine of the 68 camels have died,which attracted the benchs displeasure.