‘Missing’ Delhi elephant Laxmi found, mahout Saddam arrested after two months on the run

The 47-year-old elephant, Laxmi, was sent to an elephant rescue centre in Ban Santour in Haryana.

Updated - December 03, 2021 08:09 am IST

Published - September 18, 2019 07:28 pm IST - New Delhi

47-year-old elephant Laxmi, which went missing two months ago, near the Shakarpur Police Station in New Delhi on September 18, 2019.

47-year-old elephant Laxmi, which went missing two months ago, near the Shakarpur Police Station in New Delhi on September 18, 2019.

An elephant which had been missing for the last two months was rescued   and its mahout was arrested by Delhi Police on late Tuesday night from east Delhi. 

The 47-year-old elephant, Laxmi, was sent to an elephant rescue centre in Ban Santour in Haryana around 9 p.m. on Wednesday, according to officials of forest department. 

Deputy Commissioner of Police (East) Jasmeet Singh said that a complaint was filed after the forest department team was allegedly attacked while rescuing the elephant from Yamuna Khadar area in July. The caretaker’s family then escaped with the jumbo.  

“An FIR was registered against the caretaker’s family for restraining government servant [forest department] from performing his duty. The elephant was missing with the mahout since then and we were searching for him,” said a police officer.

“We launched a search operation on Tuesday to locate the elephant. Three teams comprising around 12 officials carried out combing operation in the areas along the banks of the Yamuna,” said Mr. Singh. Finally, they found the elephant and the mahout, identified as Saddam, was arrested. 

Forest officials came late 

Police said that it took more than 12 hours for the forest department officials to reach Shakarpur police station and take away the elephant.

“We found the elephant at 12 a.m. and immediately informed forest department as we have no place to keep the animal at the police station. But the forest department replied that they will come in the morning,” said a policeman, who was part of team that rescued the elephant.

On Wednesday morning, a team of forest department officials arrived at the police station, but they failed to make the elephant board a truck, the police said. 

“First we tried to shift the elephant directly from the police station to Ban Santour, but the elephant refused to board the truck. Later, it was moved to a nursery of the forest department near ITO,” the forest department official said.

47-year-old elephant 'Laxmi' had gone missing two months ago and a countrywide alert was issued to trace it, was found in Shakarpur and moved to the Delhi Forest department nursery, in New Delhi on September 18, 2019.

47-year-old elephant 'Laxmi' had gone missing two months ago and a countrywide alert was issued to trace it, was found in Shakarpur and moved to the Delhi Forest department nursery, in New Delhi on September 18, 2019.

The escape

Laxmi was supposed to be shifted to Ban Santour in Haryana as there were not enough facilities for elephants in the Capital. In February, the forest department had issued a seizure notice for Laxmi and on July 1, the authorities in Haryana informed their counterparts in Delhi that the elephants can be shifted.

 

Rescued elephant 'Laxmi', which had gone missing two months ago, at the Delhi Forest Department nursery, in New Delhi on September 18, 2019. Sandeep Saxena

Rescued elephant 'Laxmi', which had gone missing two months ago, at the Delhi Forest Department nursery, in New Delhi on September 18, 2019. Sandeep Saxena

 

 

 

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