Delhi Police has arrested a woman who was carrying 123 rare and endangered turtles in ISBT(Inter State Bus Terminal). The turtles were stacked in the six bags, which the woman was taking to sell to one her contacts in Anand Vihar of New Delhi. Firstly, Police suspected the woman and caught her, later in enquiry she failed to produce any licence for the sale and purchase of the turtles carried by her.
Omawati was suspected by a patrolling police team at the ISBT and when stopped for checking she ran into a bus. However, the police caught her and on asking she stated that she knew these turtles were endangered and she was acting against the law. The Itawah resident further accepted that she had done this many times before. She said that she could identify the fisherman who sold the turtles to her. Police had started a probe to catch others included in this racket.
A team lead by a senior police officer and a forest officer came on the spot and took hold of the situation. The wildlife representative recognised the turtles as Indian softshell turtles. These turtles are categorised as endangered and their trade is completely illegal without prior permission of the authorities under the Schedule I of the 1972 Wildlife Protection Act.
According to co-founder of NGO Wildlife SOS, the lady will be imprisoned for three years if she did this for the first time. However, the imprisonment may be increased to seven years depending on what she traded before. Such acts are common in Delhi as it shares borders with many states. Delhi police is strict enough that it catches 36 percent of the cases.
These Indian softshell turtles are used in Chinese medicines. Their shells are removed then dried, powdered and then mixed in medicines as they act as a very good antibiotic. Only a few people know about the use of these turtle shells and those too mainly resides in the southeast Asian market. These species are also highly endangered and are only found in some parts of Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh and Myanmar.
According to Delhi police, these turtles are transported from Uttar Pradesh via Haryana.