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Tusk Tussle: Locals in Tripura Prevent Forest Officials from Exhuming Elephant

Tension gripped the Murticherra Tea Garden area in Tripura when forest officials attempted to confiscate the tusks of a domesticated elephant that had fallen ill and died on Tuesday. Local people, with the help of the elephant's owner buried the animal after a postmortem examination conducted at the initiative of the owner. The effort to exhume the carcass by the forest officials sparked outrage among the locals.

Prompted by the elephant's death, forest officials from Kailasahar rushed to the Murticherra Tea Garden area and demanded to extract the tusks. As they were preparing to dig out the dead elephant, they were met with resistance from the locals, who prevented them from taking the tusks, resulting in the officials leaving empty-handed. Undeterred, a team led by Divisional Forest Officer Hiranjoy Reang, accompanied by a large contingent of police, TSR jawans and BSF personnel, later attempted to exhume the elephant to retrieve its tusks. Once again, the local people of the area assembled and intervened, refusing to allow the elephant to be unearthed. The officials, once again, returned empty-handed.

Tension escalated as the locals expressed their anger over the officials' actions. Ramchandra Kairi, a resident of the area, claimed that Murticherra is a ‘haven’ for domesticated elephants, citing the deaths of two other elephants that had previously occurred while working in the area. Kairi and other locals also announced plans to build a temple for Lord Ganesha at Murticherra in honor of the deceased elephants.

Locals also questioned the actions of the elephant's owner, criticizing him for not informing the forest department before conducting a postmortem on the elephant. Furthermore, they condemned the forest department for not taking legal action against the owner and instead attempting to take the tusks from the carcass.

In response to inquiries, Divisional Forest Officer Hiranjoy Reang said that the matter had been referred to higher authorities, who would decide on further action. Even tensions running high in the area, the situation was stated to be under control.

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