DAY 214: BEAR CUB RESCUE (part 1)
Phew, I made it.
But the outcome was not as I had expected. We raided a community that got very heated and the plan had to change quickly…
…and what of the bear?
At 4:30am I woke up to a thunderstorm.
This is not the ideal start to one’s first day of bear-rescuing. It would only have been made worse if the grim-reaper had tickled his fingers on my window. The fierce rain came through the hot darkness. I re-applied my mascara, sorry, I mean bear-rescue disguise, and got ready to meet my pick-up man at 5am.
An unmarked vehicle arrived some 45 minutes late with a driver who spoke little English. I had been told by Kartick not to engage in conversation. The driver obliged by not speaking a word back and we set off in silence into the sunrise.
During the journey we picked up three more people, one of whom seemed aggressive and was unwilling to sit in the back. I assumed he was the informer to the Muslim community. He was agitated and often broke out into protest with my driver about something I could not understand. I stared out of the window the whole way without saying a word
Meeting the undercover cops
We arrived at the pre-arranged location to meet the plain-clothed cops. Their portly bellies and moustache-stroking nonchalance didn’t fill me with confidence -but what did I know?
By now Kartick was regularly texting me. He seemed nervous that I was alright. Which made me nervous.
Have they got weapons? R there women with them?
I presumed women would be used to soften any possible violent tendencies
Neither – I wrote back
How many cops?
Is that all? – he wrote.
Should I go if they have no weapons?
They probably have concealed weapons
I could see nothing of the sort in their tight fitting trousers and t-shirts stretched over their full frames.
Then, just when I was considering bailing on the whole thing, we drove the car to another station and were joined by more police. First five more, then ten, then twenty. All of them were dressed in uniform and most were carrying rifles, pistols, one with an AK-47.
Jesus. I wasn’t sure if I should feel relieved or terrified. Why so many cops for a bear cub? And why did I need to wear mascara and a bad disguise? With this much police protection I could have been Salman Rushdie reading the Satanic verses aloud and they wouldn’t have been able to touch me.
But these police were not for me. Someone thought this raid demanded it.
Martin, do not lose your man – another text.
Kartick had made very clear that under no circumstances should I stray from the side of my driver – who was apparently an expert in these raids . I promised I would stick by him closely.
We set off for the small village compound where we new the bear cub was being kept. There was no way in hell this number of police would not arouse suspicion – or prepare – the people who we were coming for.
Something felt very wrong.