The Gauhati High Court on Monday asked Assam’s Chief Wildlife Warden Ranjana Gupta whether she had taken note of a 2016 Supreme Court order against transfer of elephants while clearing the transit of four juvenile elephants to Gujarat for a religious event.Hearing separate petitions filed by Kerala-born Canadian Sangita Iyer and Guwahati-based NGO Avinava Prayash, a division Bench comprising acting Chief Justice Arup Kumar Goswami and Justice Manish Choudhury sought clarification from the Centre with regard to the operation of the apex court’s interim order in 2016 prohibiting transfer of elephants outside a State by their possessors.The Bench also asked Ms. Gupta to clarify whether she had taken note of the Supreme Court’s interim order when she authorised on June 12 the transit of the elephants to Ahmedabad’s Jagannath Temple for a Rath Yatra on July 4.The oldest of the four elephants — females Joytara and Rani, and males Babulal and Rupsing — is nine years old. ‘Will not survive trip’Wildlife activists had argued that these juvenile elephants would not survive the heatwave while travelling in a metal railway wagon 3,106 km from eastern Assam’s Tinsukia to Ahmedabad.Noting that the railways too had sought clarification on the Supreme Court’s interim order before transporting the elephants, the Bench referred to the March 8 letter of the Project Elephant Division of the Ministry of Environment, Forests and Climate Change seeking legal steps for the “welfare of the captive elephants, etc., and strict monitoring” to prevent illegal transport of elephants between States.The petitioners’ counsel Bhaskar Dev Konwar, argued that the elephants would face adverse climatic conditions during their train journey to Gujarat.He also pointed out that unlike Tamil Nadu and Kerala, Assam has not framed rules for management and maintenance of captive elephants under Section 64(2) of the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972. He also contended that none of the elephants sent outside Assam on temporary leases have returned till date. The case is scheduled to come up for hearing again on Tuesday.
India’s archery campaign at the London Olympics ended on a disappointing note with Deepika Kumari going out in the first elimination round to home favourite Amy Oliver.Deepika had defeated the British girl quite easily whenever they had faced off previously, but at Lord’s on Wednesday, things turned out differently.This was a totally unexpected result. Deepika did not hit any 10s when required, which is very unusual. Normally, she compensates for her low scores by shooting a large number of 10s, but could not manage to do so here.She told us after her match that she did not feel any pressure during her match. However she struggled to assess the tricky conditions.As far as the other archers are concerned, Jayanta Talukdar did not put in a good performance though he was up against a top American.Rahul and Tarundeep made it to the second elimination round, before bowing out. But they showed fight which is a good sign.Chekrovolu Swuro seemed to just give it away after being in control. She first allowed her to draw level at 5-5 and then went down in the shoot-off.In the overall picture of the archers’ performance at the Olympics, the less than perfect start also had a role. They finished quite low down in the ranking round, which could have had an adverse impact on their morale.The fact that the conditions were quite tricky can be gauged from the fact that the topranked men’s archer, Brady Ellison of the United States, lost in the second round and later tweeted that he was thoroughly confused by the wind.advertisementAfter returning to India, one needs to find out what ingredient we are missing as we fail to crack the Olympic code despite going with high hopes. We need a long term programme for the Olympics.Age is no factor in archery and if the current batch can remain fit and focused, they can have another crack at the Olympics.(The writer is a two-time Olympian and Arjuna awardee)
After Imran Khan dropped out of the Pakistan tour of India this winter for reasons of health, the Pakistani selectors did not have to look very far for a replacement as captain. The man they chose was, of course, star middle order batsman and vice-captain Zaheer Abbas, that elegant scourge,After Imran Khan dropped out of the Pakistan tour of India this winter for reasons of health, the Pakistani selectors did not have to look very far for a replacement as captain. The man they chose was, of course, star middle order batsman and vice-captain Zaheer Abbas, that elegant scourge of Indian bowlers who seems to grow roots whenever he settles down to bat. Abbas, 36, plays for Gloucestershire in the English county cricket league and it is undoubtedly the experience and expertise gained from this most demanding of cricket set-ups that has made him what he is today, the lynchpin of Pakistan’s batting. He is the first Pakistan batsman to score over 4,000 runs in Tests, with 11 hundreds, four of them double hundreds, two against India. He now has 4,073 runs from 56 Tests at an average of over 45 per innings. A devout Muslim, Abbas is married with two children.” We feel that umpires in India make biased decisions in favour of the Indian team and I hope there won’t be any such problem this time.”Abbas is perhaps the first non-controversial captain the Pakistanis have had for a long time. He commands the respect of all the players and it is likely that in his reign there will be little of the petty feuds that have rocked the Pakistan team in the last few years. Asif Iqbal had to contend with the quite vocal criticism of some of his senior players such as Sarfaraz Nawaz. Imran Khan is given to shooting off his mouth: lately he had commented, rather immaturely, that it was more important to beat Australia in Australia than to beat India in India. Abbas, with his low-profile approach, is unlikely to raise the hackles that Imran apparently relishes doing. In effect, he should face few problems both with the team and with his Indian hosts. advertisementLast fortnight, the Pakistan captain spoke to INDIA TODAY Correspondent BONNY MUKHERJEE in London about his team’s prospects on the forthcoming Indian tour. Excerpts:Q. This is your second official tour of India. Are you looking forward to it ?A. I enjoy playing in India but there is always great pressure on Pakistani players when they play in India. Our people expect us to play really well. It is the same for the Indian team when they play in Pakistan. People take the game so seriously.Q. How much difference will the absence of Imran Khan make ?A. We know that without Imran Khan we will not be a strong team. But I will be looking for strong bowlers to make up the team when I go to Pakistan.Q. People are obviously going to make comparisons between you and Imran Khan, both in style and gamesmanship. How do you feel coming in the shadow of such a superb player? A. I am sure people are going to make comparisons but it doesn’t worry me at all.Q. You have made 100 centuries so far but never managed a century while playing India. Can you explain that?A. I don’t really know. Perhaps the conditions have never been right.Q. Whenever the Indians tour Pakistan or the Pakistani team is in India there is always bad feeling about umpires’ decisions.A. Yes, we always have this problem. We feel that umpires in India make biased decisions in favour of the Indian team and I hope there won’t be any such problem this time.Q. How do you feel about the Indian team that won the World Cup ?A. Whoever can win the World Cup is a strong team. I think India is a world class team. They play with tremendous concentration, with full spirit. For myself I can say that I love watching them play.Q. What kind of team do you hope to lead to India ?A. Well, it will not be the best team we can produce because some of the players want to rest so that they can play in Australia later.Q. Why don’t these players want to play in India ?A. I don’t know. Perhaps they feel it’s a better class of cricket in Australia. For me every match is a good game. I take every match seriously.Q. The British sports commentators were not very impressed with the Indian team despite their winning the World Cup; do you think they had good reason ?A. I don’t agree with the British press about that at all. Regarding Kapil Dev I can say that whoever can win the Prudential is best.Q. How do you rate your chances in India ?A. Like in any match the chances are even. But I can tell you this: the Indian crowds are going to love the show our team will put up.advertisement