Anticipatory bail of man booked for illegally keeping elephant rejected

An Ajmer court rejected the anticipatory bail of Rajendra Sharma accused of keeping an elephant calf illegally and ill-treating it.

“The judge rejected his anticipatory bail plea as his lawyer couldn’t produce any document about the ownership of the elephant calf named Suman,” said Tanuj Gupta, lawyer of the forest department.

On May 28, the elephant calf was seized by the forest department and since then is in the department’s custody, he added. Gupta said that the department was arranging to send the calf to one of the nine rehabilitation centres for elephants in the country.

Sharma is on the run soon after an FIR was registered against him on May 25. He has been booked under various sections of Wildlife Protection Act, said Gupta.

The forest department took suo motu cognisance after an older elephant, Champa, allegedly kept illegally by Sharma, died of septicaemia in the first week of May.

Priyanka, an animal rights activist associated with People for Animals (PFA), said that in Rajasthan all elephants (kept as captive or in illegal confinement) are in a pathetic condition.

Dry and high temperatures in the state are not conducive for elephants as they are mainly found in humid climates of North Eastern states and Kerala.

“Over 10 elephants in Hathi Gaon in Jaipur are suffering from tuberculosis (TB) and are partially or completely blind. Many more are suffering from other diseases,” she said.

“Elephants suffering from highly contagious diseases such as TB are a potent threat to spreading the disease among people who come in contact. They pose a great danger to tourists and the general public,” she added.

Priyanka demanded proper rehabilitation of elephants and stopping their ill-treatment.

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