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200 turtles seized on train

Some of the rescued turtles at the RPF office in Bandel

Howrah: More than 200 turtles were seized from two youths on the Amritsar Mail at Bandel last Wednesday.

The Indian soft-shelled turtles, listed under Schedule 1 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, were found stuffed in gunny sacks and other bags.

The youths, who had boarded the train from Varanasi, had kept the bags under their seats in the general compartment, along with other luggage, to avoid suspicion, an RPF officer said.

When the train neared Bandel, an RPF officer grew suspicious because of a smell. "When all the bags were brought out from under the seats, cops saw something moving in the bags," RPF officer Amaresh Kumar of the Howrah division said.

"The youths had taken the consignment from a person in Varanasi and were supposed to deliver it to someone in Howrah."

The turtles were headed for the food markets in Habra, Barrackpore and Gaighata in North 24-Parganas, another officer said.

The turtles have been handed over to the Burdwan division forest officials. "They will soon be released in their natural habitat," an official said.

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