Bihar man who gifted property to elephants killed

Akhtar Imam, who had gifted nearly 10 bighas of land worth crores of rupees to his two elephants, was shot dead in Patna on Wednesday, November 3, 2021.

Some members of Imam’s family were unhappy with his decision to give away expensive real estate to the elephants. They had reportedly opposed him and threatened him repeatedly to change his will.

Imam, who was in his early 50s, was shot dead early on Wednesday morning, about 200 metres from his residence at Murgiyachak village under the Janipur police station, situated on the outskirts of Patna.

“Two motorcycle-borne unidentified criminals fired at him from close range and seriously injured him. Villagers rushed him to AIIMS-Patna, where he was declared dead,” Uttam Kumar, the Janipur police station officer in charge, said.

Uttam Kumar said a post-mortem has been conducted and its report was awaited. “The police will lodge an FIR and start investigation into the case from all angles,” he added.

Imam had founded the Asian Elephant Rehabilitation and Wildlife Animal Trust nine years ago to take care of abandoned and orphaned captive elephants. He was the managing trustee of the trust headquartered at Bodh Gaya.

He had made it clear that after his death, the property gifted to the elephants would go to the trust.

Imam had recently revealed that he was facing a serious threat to his life as he had gifted his property to his elephants for their maintenance, including food and other facilities, as it is a very costly affair.

“As they (the elephants) are family members I have decided to give a share of my property to them,” Imam had earlier told this correspondent.

“I have gifted nearly 10 bighas of farm land property under the Muslim personal law to my elephants, for their maintenance including food and other facilities.”

“I decided to do so after much thought because I fear that if I die tomorrow, there will be problems for them,” he added. “My elephants will be neither abandoned nor orphaned like many captive elephants.”

“Yes, my family members are not only unhappy and angry over it, they have turned enemies over my selfless love for my elephants and my decision to gift my land to them. My family, including my wife, sons and close relatives, are against keeping elephants and their maintenance,” Imam had added.

“My family wanted me to transfer all my property — including houses and farm land — to them. I had already transferred half of my property to my family. The remaining half is for my elephants, who are also my family. I thought if my wife, daughter and sons deserve a share of my property, why not my two elephants?” Imam asked in a conversation last year.

He had disowned his elder son who threatened him time and again to sell his elephants.

With Imam’s death, his dream to set up a Hathi Gaon (an elephant’s village) for abandoned and orphaned elephants remains unfulfilled.

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