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Shahtoosh Seized in Delhi

20th May, 2003

Acting on information supplied by Wildlife Protection Society of India (WPSI), the Central Bureau of Investigation (CBI) seized 45 shahtoosh shawls including one seven metre length of uncut shahtoosh fabric and two shahtoosh kurtas in a raid conducted in Delhi on Tuesday, 13 May 2003. Bashir Ahmed Mir has been arrested and taken into Police Custody for establishing the source of supply and identification of other associates in the trade.

WPSI files Shahtoosh Petition in Supreme Court

The WPSI has filed a Special Leave Petition in the Honourable Supreme Court of India against the Division Bench order of the Jammu and Kashmir High Court passed on 10 February 2003. The judgement by the Division Bench was a big disappointment, as it reversed many of the advances made in the battle to save the Tibetan Antelope. Although, the judgement noted the fact that the animal was protected under law, it also stated that the trade in shahtoosh should not be banned considering the ‘human aspects’ involved.

Background Note on Shahtoosh Petition

WPSI initially filed a Public Interest Petition in the Jammu and Kashmir High Court in April 1998. The petition requested the State Government to ban the manufacture and sale of shahtoosh shawls, and to abide by national and international laws. On 1 May 2000, the Jammu and Kashmir High Court ordered the State Government to “enforce the law against those who are carrying on business and trade in contravention of Section 43 of the State Wildlife Act and provisions of CITES.” However, the order fell short of a complete ban and WPSI appealed the order on 30 May 2003. While the appeal was still in court, the Jammu and Kashmir Government finally amended its Wildlife (Protection) Act in August 2002 and placed the Tibetan antelope in Schedule I of the Act, banning any trade in shahtoosh, including the manufacture of shawls. The Division Bench order of 10 February 2003, which was in responses to WPSI’s appeal, was particularly regrettable, and WPSI has now been compelled to approach the Supreme Court of India.



 

 

 

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