Tuesday, 20th October, Assam forest officials “seized” the engine of a goods train that had mowed down a mother elephant and her calf inside the Lumding Reserve Forest a month ago. This has been reportedly, the first time that such a step by the authorities have taken place.
“The department shall not fail to take a tough stand against the railways. The killing of elephants on tracks must stop forthwith,” Assam’s environment and forests minister Parimal Suklabaidya said.
Divisional forest officer Rajib Das, who has been appointed as the investigation officer by the forest department, saidIn a statement, “The train engine is like the murder weapon. We have to seize the object involved in the commission of an offence. Here, it is the train engine… it’s just like the murder weapon.”
Assam’s chief wildlife warden Mahendra Kumar Yadava said that the forest department had “vigorously pursued” the case against the railway authorities un der the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The railways had already suspended the loco pilot and his assistant based on its own internal inquiry before seizing the engine on Tuesday. Yadava said the railway authorities have been informed through written instructions to restrict the speed of trains in areas inside the Lumding reserve that are prone to the movement of wild elephants.
Inputs: Times of India