Ex-militant nabbed with endangered species

Guwahati, Aug 14 (IANS) Assam Police Wednesday arrested a former militant leader here for possessing an endangered gecko lizard.

Senior Superintendent of Police (Guwahati) A.P. Tiwari said Dileep Nunisa, former chairman of Dima Halam Daogah (DHD), was arrested after a gecko was found in his vehicle. He added that three women were detained for their alleged involvement in the crime.

Possessing or selling a gecko lizard is punishable under the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.

DHD is a militant outfit based in Assam's Dima Hasao district and had been fighting for a separate Dimasa homeland. The outfit signed a memorandum of settlement with the central and state governments in 2012, after which it was disbanded in March.

The gecko lizard was alive, police said. It would be handed over to the authorities of the Assam State Zoo at Guwahati.

Some communities in countries like China, Malaysia, Indonesia, Japan believe that gecko lizards can be used for healing deadly diseases like cancer and HIV infection. Wildlife experts, however, say the gecko's healing power is a myth and that the lizards are needed to maintain the ecosystem.

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