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Bihar official ostracised for sheltering pigs
Anand Mohan Sahay in Patna | November 05, 2007 14:38 IST
Sheltering pigs out of official compulsion has landed a Bihar veterinary official in trouble.
Even his family has turned hostile to him and his community has ostracised him.
Dr Alam Azad, in his late 50s and a senior veterinary officer in Khshanganj district about 350 km from Patna, has been taking care of over 100 pigs that were confiscated while they were being smuggled into Nepal on September 16.
Azad, who has been planning to go on the Haj pilgrimage, is now having sleepless nights as fellow Muslims have objected to the veteirnarian's plans to go to Mecca.
"I was ostracised by fellow Muslims and my own family has turned hostile for sheltering the pigs against the tenets of Islam," Alam said. The pig is considered impure (napak.)
"I had no option but to keep them safe and alive to produce them in the court," Dr Azad, who has been spending Rs 500 daily on animal feed and employees who take care of them, said.
Dr Azad said he has spent over Rs 32,000 from his pocket for rearing the confiscated animals. "I was not paid a single rupee by the district administration," Dr Azad, who has been keeping the pigs outside his official residence in a bamboo enclosure for over 45 days to produce them in court as "evidence" told rediff.com over telephone.
According to official sources, acting on a tip off that the animals were being tortured by the smugglers, the animal husbandry officer had raided Belwa village in Kishanganj town near the Nepal border.
The pigs were confiscated under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act. The police accompanying the official also arrested two alleged smugglers.
Sources in Kishanganj district administration said the arrested smugglers, with the confiscated pigs, were brought to town police station but the police refused to keep them on the grounds of lack of shelter facility. Local cowshed owners also refused to keep them fearing that pigs would infect the cows and dirty the place.
Thus, the responsibility fell on Dr Azad.
"Now, I am not sure if I will be able to leave for Jeddah between November 11 and 25 to go on Haj pilgrimage.
Now, Dr Azad's hopes to get rid of the pigs lie with the district officials who had promised to help him by arranging another shelter.
"I was singled out and ostracised for giving shelter to pigs out of official compulsion, I tried to convince them but failed, no one is ready to understand my plight," Dr Azad said.
"But how can I free them, these pigs are evidence against the arrested smugglers, It is my official duty to keep them," Alam said.