Crime: Two women and two men from Lhamoizingkha in Dagana are currently in Indian police custody in Alipur for allegedly possessing 18kgs of elephant jawbones and tusks.

Forest officials in Barobisha had arrested them on April 29.

Of the four apprehended, one is a senior forestry official in Lhamoizingkha dungkhag, it has been learnt. His wife was also arrested.

It is not clear whether they tried to smuggle the possessions across the border. Locals in Lhamoizingkha town said that they have taken the bones to a fabricating house in Barobisha, India, some 50 km away from Lhamoizingkha.

“I heard that they had taken the bones to make phops,” a local man said. “But I am not sure.”

Another source said that the jawbones were taken to make rosaries. A local Bangla newspaper had also flashed this news on April 30. A picture of  a  phop was shown in the newspaper.

Sources said the other woman apprehended is a friend of the forester’s wife. She had her breastfeeding child with her when the Barobisha foresters caught them. Her father is the other man, who was detained.

The child, however, has been sent home to Lhamoizingkha, the same day in the evening.

Sources said that the jawbones had flesh attached.

They were produced in the court on April 30. Sources said that relevant officials from Lhamoizingkha had also been there.

However, the court agreed to release the four only upon producing strong supporting documents.

Rajesh Rai | Phuentsholing