KOLKATA, India (AP) — Police in eastern India have arrested eight men involved in smuggling human bones and recovered 18 skeletons from them, police said Friday.
The men were arrested last week after police received a tip about a smuggling ring involved in removing bones from decomposing bodies taken from graveyards in Burdwan district of West Bengal state.
Police also found chemicals the smugglers would use to clean the bones, after which they would wire the bones together to make whole skeletons.
The men were being questioned to identify others involved in the trade, top police officer Anuj Sharma said.
A court in Burdwan on Monday ordered the men be held in judicial custody while investigations are on to unravel their links.
The bones are used by medical and science colleges to teach students. India was among the leading exporters of human skeletons and bones until the trade was banned in 1985. The ban has pushed the trade underground and smuggling rings are still trading in human bones, police say.