Saturday, September 1, 2007

Two more arrested for Gir lion killings.

Sibte Husain Bukhari

Junagadh, August 31: Two more men have been arrested for their involvement in the killing of eight lions in Gir forest. They have been remanded in ten days police custody by the Palitana town court in Bhavnagar district. Lions were slaughtered and their bones, skull and claws dispatched to some unknown destination, in which the international syndicate is believed to have played a major role. Three separate incidents of killing of eight lions occurred during March and April this year, which rocked the entire region.

Arrests had been made on August 24, however, the police preferred to remain tightlipped over the issue as they believed that divulging details could hamper the probe process.

The accused have been identified as Anand Minter Parghi and Hirakha Parghi. Both have been arrested from Balada village of Chhanera taluka in Khandwa district in Madhya Pradesh. According to Bhavnagar police sources, a midnight search operation was carried out at Balada village in which 50 police personnel along with a Madhya Pradesh police party, scanned the entire area. Search operations aimed at nabbing the accused, commenced at around 2 am and lasted for 6 hours, which ended at 8 in the morning. Balada village is geographically surrounded by water of dams on three sides. The operations were carried out when torrential rains were lashing the area, the police said. The duo was nabbed by the police during the search operation, however, the main kingpin , Minter Aadivasi managed to escape under the cover of darkness.

Anand and Hirakha are close aides of Minter and in fact are son and son-in-law respectively. During their interrogation, both have admitted to their role in the killing of the lions. The Madhya Pradesh police’s tribal gang had killed 6 lions in Babaria range of Gir forest, and two lions at Bhandaria village in Bhavnagar district. It is believed that the duo had provided some vital information about Minter. Both were produced before Palitana town court that passed orders for 10 days police remand.

Meanwhile, a total 17 men and 13 women — all tribals, have been arrested in this connection by Junagadh and Bhavnagar police. Apart from this, atotal 55 children have been detained so far. According to Junagadh district jail superintendent D J Vanakar, 10 men, 9 women undertrials and 18 children below the age of 7 have been lodged in Junagadh jail. According to Bhavnagar jail officials, 7 men and 4 women undertrials have been put behind bars in Bhavnagar jail. While 39 children have been been given shelter at the juvenile home in Bhavnagar.

According to police sources, tribal gangs have a specific modus operandi. They are always accompanied by women and dozens of children and never stay at one place for long. The men flee from the scene of crime when they know that the police are at an arm’s length. The women and children are left to fend on their own.


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