Six camels, seized from a local market in the Darrang district and a custody battle that the seizure triggered, are keeping the police on their toes for about two weeks in Assam.
While the animals were seized from the Dhula market on August 11, a day ahead of the Eid al-Adha (locally known as Bakrid), and were "saved" from being slaughtered, they are awaiting a court order to be repatriated safely to their home state -- Rajasthan.
"It's difficult for us to maintain them, because we have no knowledge about them. We are also concerned about the impact of Assam's climate on them," said a senior police officer of the Darrang district on Tuesday.
"However, we are consulting veterinarians to ensure that they remain in good health," he said.
Meanwhile, Samatullah, the camel trader from whom the police seized the animals, has moved the court seeking their custody.
"There was a claim by one individual. But we moved the court on Tuesday for giving the custody to the Animal Welfare Board of India. It can ensure safety and welfare of the animals and take them back to Rajasthan with due process," he said.
"Being a law enforcing agency, we deal with a variety of cases every day. There are investigations, crime cases and VIP movements too. And these days we also have to depute our staff to ensure the welfare of camels," said the officer.
While five camels are being kept at the Dhula police station, one is at the Mangaldai police station.
Camel was declared the state animal of Rajasthan in 2014 and the state Assembly enacted the Rajasthan Camel (Prohibition of Slaughter and Regulation of Temporary Migration or Export) law, which banned slaughter as well as illegal transportation of the animal to other states.
"It's a crime. The camels were illegally smuggled to Assam, probably for slaughter," said Sujeet Choudhury, member of the Animal Welfare Board of India, who visited Mangaldai on the intimation of the Darrang police.
"We, in association with the Assam Police, are trying our best to repatriate the animals to Rajasthan. We hope the court will rule in our favour to take the animals to Rajasthan," Choudhury said.
(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by NDTV staff and is published from a syndicated feed.)