Srinagar, Apr 20 (UNI) Panic gripped the Animal Husbandry Department authorities here after they received a report that as many as 796 chickens were found dead under ''mysterious circumstances'' in central Kashmir district of Badgam today.
However, Deputy Director of Animal Husbandry Department Dr Farooq Ahmed Kaloo ruled out that the birds had died due to the deadly bird flu disease.
He told UNI that the birds were suspected to have died due to ''suffocation and poisoning'' and there were no bird flu symptoms.
Dr Kaloo said the samples of the dead birds have been sent to the High Security Animal Diseases Laboratory (HSADL) in Bhopal for investigation.
The report will come in two-three days time, he added.
Giving details, the Deputy Director said a dealer from Badgam, Mohammad Yousuf Khan, had purchased about 800 chickens from Mir Poultries at Pandarethan near here some days ago.
''Today, the dealer lodged a complaint with the police stating that 796 out of 800 birds had died due to some disease. The police in turn reported the matter to us,'' he added.
Dr Kaloo said a team of officials was immediately rushed to the area and post-mortem was conducted and the samples collected.
The officials then buried the carcasses and disinfected the premises, he added.
''We also contacted the owner of Mir Poultries, Enayat Ali, and inquired about other mortality. He informed us that a flock of 1500 birds was recently received from Punjab. While 800 were sold to this dealer, the remaining was found to be fine,'' Dr Kaloo added.
The Deputy Director said the room in which the birds had been kept was small and the feed had got damaged and subsequently poisoned over a period of time.
''The birds died of suffocation and also due to poisoning,'' he added.
UNI AG MA KN2005