Truck kills elephant, injures another

After an elephant was killed and another injured in an accident on Friday, the Noida police has booked two elephant owners, following the intervention of animal rights activist and parliamentarian Maneka Gandhi. It has been learnt that the cops had registered a case of accident against the truck driver only while elephant owners were being treated as victims.

The accident took place around 6 am on Friday, when a high speeding truck hit two female elephants, Rupa and Champa, aged around 40 and 18 years respectively on Noida Expressway near Mahamaya flyover. The truck rammed Rupa from behind and she died on the spot while the injured Champa fled from the spot.

'We have detained the owners of elephants for illegal inter-state transit of these animals. A case is being registered under various sections of Wild Life Act,' said Praveen Kumar, Senior Superintendent of Police [SSP], Noida. Earlier in the day, these elephant owners were being treated as victims by Noida police - one had lost an elephant. The duo got an FIR registered in Sector 39 police station of Noida against the truck driver. But it was only after Maneka Gandhi called up Noida police chief and Chief Wild Life Warden of Uttar Pradesh that the administration came into action.

'Expressway is not meant for animals but for high speed vehicles. However, a manhunt has been launched to nab the driver of the truck involved in the accident,' added Kumar. The injured elephant is being treated under the Mahamaya flyover as doctors advised the administration that lifting the animal could be harmful.

'The truck dragged Rupa for around 20 metres on the expressway and she died on the spot. Champa fled from the spot and took shelter under Mahamaya flyover,' said Ram Shevak, who is looking after the injured animal.

Champa has received bruises on her body and trunk and is being treated by doctors of forest department and non-government organisations. She is now doing well and taking sugarcane and water. The body of the dead animal was sent for post mortem and the report is expected by tomorrow. Sources said it died due to severe head injuries.

'The transition of wild life animals from one state to another must be done only after permission of District Forest Officer [DFO] of both the areas. They did not have the permission. We have complained to police to register a case under Section 43 [3] of Wild Life Act- 1972,' said P Prabhakar, DFO, Noida.

Rupa was owned by Jahir [65] while Champa is owned by Shaukat [50], residents of Dadri in district Gautam Budh Nagar. The handler of Rupa, Mehraj, is also injured and is being treated in district hospital of Noida.


As soon as she heard about the accident of two elephants in Noida, Maneka Gandhi called up senior police and forest officers to register a case against the owners under Wild Life Act. She talks to Siddheshwar Shukla about the accident and the apathy of the government in taking concrete action against those who break the law regarding animal safety. Excerpts:

What was your first reaction to the accident?

I think time has come when the government should ban private ownership of wild animals and put them in well equipped rescue centres.

Is there any shelter to keep elephants?

The union government had allocated land in Haryana in 2002 to construct a rescue centre. The state has 26 elephants, but no such centre has been constructed so far.

Whom do you blame for this inaction?

The apathy of the government. The elephant owners use them for begging on streets and move from one place to another without getting proper permission. But the sad thing is that the government is not ready to listen and act.

What is the situation of elephants in Delhi?

There are 28 elephants in Delhi, you can see [them] near ITO. One Farooq owns the maximum numbers of elephants in the city, he uses them for begging. So far, his eight elephants have been killed in road accidents.

What sort of punishment are the owners of elephants in Noida accident case looking at?

There is provision of seven years imprisonment in such cases. But they are often released due to apathy and inaction of the present system.
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