Nima | Gelephu 

Farmers residing long the porous border in Jigmeling, Sarpang, are worried about the frequent case of cattle thefts that occured in the last two months. 

More than seven house- holds in Jigmeling, Dekiling, lost 15 cattle in November and December. Residents say many were milking cows. 

The recent incident occurred on Wednesday night. Two cows were stolen from near one of the farmer’s house after breaking the fence. 

The owner, Neten Dorji, said his family members were at home when the incident happened. 

He said three cows and oxen were stolen from the village in the last four days. “This happens even during the day- time now.” 

He said it’s worrying be- cause most farmers depend on cattle for livelihood. “Some- thing has to be done to stop it.” 

Local residents and police searched along the border on Thursday evening. Safe for a few traces of cattle, nothing was found. 

Neten Dorji said local residents might be working together with people from across the border to steal the cows. “The border is about four kilometres away and they can’t come this close without the help of locals.” 

Residents said there is a threat to people, as the incident continues to happen during daytime. Cattle left for grazing near the border area are raided during the daytime and those near home are stolen late at night. 

Another villager, Sonam Yangchen, lost two jersey cows in the past two weeks near the border. “While following the trace of cattle, we found a bare- foot print left behind. There were also cards left discarded,” she said. 

The residents said that it was difficult to come out voluntarily to guard the border because of the thick cover. The incident took place despite the presence of an outpost with DeSuups and police on the Covid-19 duty.
A resident said that they  couldn’t search the border area after they found their cattle missing because of the Covid- 19 restrictions. “We used to go after them in the past. People used to get caught and punished. But, this time they are taking advantage of the situation.”

Yeshi Wangmo said that they have requested the gewog to make the landowners clear the vast uncultivated land that belongs to the Army Welfare Project, as it gave safe passage for those illegal activities. 

“We would be able to volunteer and guard the border. Today it’s a bit risky to come out to guard the border,” she said. 

Gelephu and Sarpang police are investigating the case. 

Dekiling gup, Padam Singh Mongar, said residents were asked not to take their cattle close to the border for grazing. “But people don’t listen. The earlier incidents were near the border area. We are not sure who is involved.” 

He said the people did not report to the gewog administration regarding the recent incident.