The wildlife poachers in the region have started recruiting women to use them as carriers and hunters. The Railway Protection Force (RPF) and Government Railway Police (GRP) recently arrested seven women on Delhi-Howrah Express for smuggling around 400 turtles.
Sources said the case was unique in the sense that this was the first instance in which women were arrested.
Four of the arrested women were natives of Kolkata while three hailed from various localities of the city, all the seven women were travelling in the general compartment of Janata Express. They were going to West Bengal to deliver the consignment.
Earlier, the Government Railway Police (GRP) arrested two women and recovered 138 rare turtles from their possession at Etawah railway station in 2010. The women, residents of West Bengal, were hired by wildlife poachers to catch turtles from here and smuggle them to their native place.
Similarly, a large number of carcasses of rabbits were seized with the arrest of a woman, a native of Rajasthan, and her four male counterparts from Shahganj area of Agra on September 23, 2013. Around 50 skulls and other body parts of rabbits were recovered from her house.
A senior forest official of Etawah said that there is no organised gang of poachers here.
Sources pointed out that hunters, including women, belonging to a particular Rajasthani tribe, are hired by local farmers for killing blue bull in the region. "We have not yet come across any organised poaching gang operating here. With Chambal river flowing through the region, it has a rich forest cover. Some farmers, who reside on the fringes of forest cover hire hunters comprising women of 'Kanjar' tribe from Rajasthan to protect their crops from blue bull. This tribe takes to poaching in the garb of killing blue bull for quick money.
RPF official Sanjay Pandey said that a team comprising women constables will be constituted to curb the growing involvement of women in smuggling activities in trains.
"Women constables will be imparted training to nab such criminals. In the absence of women constables, it becomes difficult to check such activities," he said.