First pan India operation to crackdown on the smuggling of mongoose hair, raids carried out in U.P, Rajasthan, Maharashtra and Kerala.
Operation Clean Art
- It is the first pan India operation to crackdown on the smuggling of mongoose hair in the country.
- There are six species of mongoose found in India and in the raids mostly recovered [in the raids] grey mongoose [hair].
- Operation Clean Art was conceived by Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB) with the singular aim of ensuring that the mongoose hair brush trade should be closed down across the country.
Wildlife Crime Control Bureau is a statutory multi-disciplinary body established by the Government of India under the Ministry of Environment and Forests, to combat organized wildlife crime in the country.
The Bureau has its headquarters in New Delhi and five regional offices at Delhi, Kolkata, Mumbai, Chennai and Jabalpur; three sub-regional offices at Guwahati, Amritsar and Cochin; and five border units at Ramanathapuram, Gorakhpur, Motihari, Nathula and Moreh.
Under Section 38 (Z) of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, it is mandated
- to collect and collate intelligence related to organized wildlife crime activities
- to disseminate the same to State and other enforcement agencies for immediate action so as to apprehend the criminals
- to establish a centralized wildlife crime data bank
- coordinate actions by various agencies in connection with the enforcement of the provisions of the Act
- assist foreign authorities and international organization concerned to facilitate coordination and universal action for wildlife crime control
- capacity building of the wildlife crime enforcement agencies for scientific and professional investigation into wildlife crimes and assist State Governments to ensure success in prosecutions related to wildlife crimes
- advise the Government of India on issues relating to wildlife crimes having national and international ramifications, relevant policy and laws
It also assists and advises the Customs authorities in inspection of the consignments of flora & fauna as per the provisions of the Wild Life Protection Act, CITES and EXIM Policy governing such an item.
- Describing the making of brushes with mongoose hair an “organised crime,'' the official said most of these animals were poached by “hunting communities” across the country.
The mongoose is listed in Schedule II Part 2 of the Wildlife Protection Act and any smuggling or possession of its body part is a non-bailable offence.
- Well-known sculptor and painter Bimal Kundu said the reason why painters prefer brushes made of mongoose hair is because they are superior and hold colour better.
- The painters should shun brushes made of mongoose hair because animals are being mercilessly killed in the process of making such tools.
- But, the alternatives available in the market are not of good quality. More research should be done to make brushes that fit the requirements of an artist.