Borders shared by India, Pakistan and Bangladesh, once a single country have become a death trap post 1947 partition.
Humans aside, animals are facing the brunt too. Recently, an elephant lost its life after it was shot 34 times by the Bangladesh Border Guards (BBG) for ‘illegally’ crossing the border.
In the latest incident, an elephant and her calf had to appear in a court in Assam this week, where a judge was asked to decide on their custody, NDTV reported.
The judge had to make a brief field trip to the court’s lawns to inspect the jumbo duo in Assam’s remote Hailakandi district which borders Bangladesh.
These elephants don’t know about border restrictions; neither do they have passports. But it is the court which will take the final decision about their citizenship between India and Bangladesh.
The case will be heard next week. Till then the court has granted the custody of these elephants to a local forest official.
“We will take care of them as long as we have to, and ensure they are well fed and looked after,” said Gunin Saikia, Divisional Forest Officer of Hailakandi. The elephants were found on the Indian side of the border by the police on Monday, June 15.
A local resident claims to be their owner – he says the female elephant was stolen from him eight years ago. But a Bangladeshi man has made a rival claim.
“They went missing a few days ago. I looked everywhere and then went to local cops in Bangladesh. They spoke to the Border Security Force and told me my elephants were in Hailakandi. So I got them to arrange travel and here I am to stake claim,” says Mojibul Islam.