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Rare Atlantic walrus tusk seized in Maha’s Ratnagiri, probe launched



Ratnagiri (Maharashtra), Sep 2: For the first time in India, the tusk of a rare Atlantic walrus was seized, from a coastal village in Maharashtra’s Ratnagiri district, officials said on Thursday.

Following a confidential tip-off on Auguts 31, Forest Department teams from Ratnagiri and Satara, along with the CI) laid a trap and nabbed three accused red-handed with the booty from Hatkhamba village.

“The three arrested are from Goa and Maharashtra. We have recovered the tusk, approximately 15-16 inches long, of an Atlantic walrus (Odobenus Rosmarus),” Honorary. Wildlife Warden Rohan Bhate, who is also Member of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), told IANS.

Teams of wildlife sleuths have been formed to conduct a nationwide operation to track the gang behind the Atlantic walrus ivory tusk smuggling, their associates, the buyers, etc.

Ratnagiri Range Forest Officer Priyanka Lagad said that this is the first-ever such seizure of a walrus tusk since these marine animals are found only in the icy shores of northern hemisphere, around 10,000 kms from here.

“The challenge before the investigations is to find how the tusk has reached Maharashtra, who are the other players, how big is the racket and what are its larger ramifications,” she said.

However, Lagad declined to reveal the exact quantity/weight of the large tusk, its market value and other details owing to operational reasons and to avoid alerting the others who could be involved in the crime.

Bhate said that following the interrogation of the accused trio, the teams will go to other Indian states and are likely to effect more seizures of wild creatures or their valuable organs.

As far as the atlantic walrus tusk’s valuation, most experts and wildlifers term it as “invaluable” and beyond comparison with the elephant tusks that are the favourite of ivory smugglers globally.

The accused smugglers nabbed were identified as M. Numan Yasin Naik, 42, of Permem, Goa, Hemant Suresh Kander, 38 of Kankavali and Rajan Dayal Pange, 58 of Malvan, both in Maharashtra’s Sindhudurg district.

The team has also seized a car in which the tusk was being transported to an unknown location for a sale, and all the accused have been charged under the Section 49(c), of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972 and CITES.

Bhate said that the laws are so stringent that besides the smugglers, any dealers in such ivory brought into the country illegally, manufacturers or buyers can be booked.

The sensitive operation was carried out under the guidance of Chief Conservator of Forests, Kolhapur D. Clement Ben, Assistant Conservator of Forests Sachin Nilakh, Divisional Forest Officer Deepak Khade, Satara Forest Range Officer Sachin Dombale and other team members.

Walrus is a huge flippered, deep-diving marine mammal, weighing over two tonnes, with the tusk measuring upto one metre long, and is found only in the Arctic Ocean, the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, around the North Pole, and the sub-Arctic seas in the Northern Hemisphere.

Massive hunting had depleted the walrus populations massively in the last century but their numbers are gradually increasing with protection measures by several countries in the far north.

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Art & Culture

Unakoti in Tripura: Where Lord Shiva spent a night on his way to Kashi



Agartala: Colossal sculptures of Lord Shiva, Lord Ganesh, Goddess Durga and many more sculptures carved out of huge mountain are part of the largest open air rock sculpture gallery in India at Unakoti in Tripura.

Tripura is now opening to the world with its rich art, culture, music and heritage as it is being brought about to the people. This magical place is an Ancient Saivite pilgrimage.
Even the name of Unakoti district is derived from Unakoti hills and its Kokborok name is Subrai Khung.

The place hosts an ancient Shaivite place of worship with huge rock reliefs celebrating Shiva. It is the prime tourist spot of Unakoti district in the Kailashar subdivision of Tripura. This Shiva pilgrimage dates back to an unknown era.

There are two kinds of image at Unakoti — rock-carved figures and stone images. Among the rock-cut carvings, the Shiva head and gigantic Ganesha figures deserve special mention. The central Shiva head known as Unakotiswara Kal Bhairava is about 30 feet high including an embroidered head-dress which itself is 10 feet high.

On each side of the head-dress of the central Shiva, there are two full-size female figures – one of Durga standing on a lion and another female figure on the other side. In addition, three enormous images of Nandi are found half-buried in the ground. There are various other stone as well as rock-cut images at Unakoti.

Legend has it that Lord Shiva once spent a night here on his way to Kashi and 99,99,999 gods and goddesses followed him. He had asked his followers to wake up before sunrise and make their way towards Kashi.

Unfortunately, none awoke, except Lord Shiva himself. Before he set out for Kashi alone, he cursed them all to turn into stone. And that is how the site got its name. The place is peaceful and surrounded by lush greenery.
Annual fair Ashokastami Mela is held in the month of April which is visited by thousands of pilgrims from all across.

Another smaller festival takes place in January. The place is around 178 km to the north-east from Agartala district of Tripura and 148 km to the south-east from Silchar district of Assam.

But the site has suffered centuries of neglect causing degradation and loss of considerable scale to the rock art. Since its adoption by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) as a heritage site, the situation has slightly improved, though a lot of work including substantial excavation remains to be undertaken.

The government of India has approached to UNESCO to declare it as a World Heritage Site. The Government of Tripura is also trying to create all kinds of facility for the convenience of pilgrims and tourists.

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Art & Culture

Did you know these five waterfalls exists in Tripura! Checkout details 



Agartala: Tripura is well known to people across the country for its natural flora and fauna and historical places like Unakoti and Eastern India’s lone water palace Neermahal.

But, did you know Tripura also has as many as 5 small waterfalls, while many are yet to be discovered by govt and organizations.

However, if you are planning to spend your time chilling out in , these are the five places you can plan your next trip.

These are the waterfalls you can visit when in Tripura.

1)Tayung Tuku Waterfall
2)Dumla Waterfall
3)Saika Tuisoi Waterfall
4)HawaiBari Waterfall
5)Buddha Waterfall

So, are you excited and want to know the location? Follow RiseEast for to know more about these waterfalls and how you can reach them.


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Lucknow shoot done for Vidyut Jammwal-starrer ‘Khuda Haafiz 2’



Mumbai, Oct 1: Actor Vidyut Jammwal’s ‘Khuda Haafiz Chapter II – Agni Pariksha’ shoot in Lucknow has been completed.

The film stars Vidyut Jammwal and Shivaleeka Oberoi in the leading roles.

Talking about the experience of shooting in Lucknow, director Faruk Kabir says: “I have to say that Lucknow showed us a great time. We lived like a family for almost two months. The film’s team was relentless in ensuring that we finished the day’s work as planned. We’re happy that the schedule has concluded within the intended number of days. The team is at it to be certain that we bring the audience an intense action love story very soon.”

The film is written and directed by Faruk Kabir, produced by Kumar Mangat Pathak and Abhishek Pathak, co-produced by Sanjeev Joshi, Aditya Chowksey and Hasnain Hussaini, with music by Pritam, lyrics by Irshad Kamil,

‘Khuda Haafiz Chapter II – Agni Pariksha’ is a Panorama Studios Production.

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