Monday, November 5, 2007

Lion’s death: Seven more arrested.

Sibte Hussaqin Bukhari
Posted online: Monday , November 05, 2007 at 12:00:00
Updated: Monday , November 05, 2007 at 02:03:35Print Email To Editor

Junagadh, November 4 Forest officials have arrested seven more persons in connection with the death of a lion by electrocution in July 2006. The officials had arrested one person on November 1 and were looking for the other accused.
The accused had tied the carcass of the lion with a big stone and thrown it into Vrijmi dam on the outskirts of Amarapur (Gir) village near Malia-Hatina town in Junagadh district in July 2002. The seven were arrested on Sunday on the basis of the deatils revealed by Daya Lakshman arrested earlier.

Range Forest Officer (Malia-Hatina) L V Chavda said, "The seven accused will be produced before the court of judicial magistrate on Monday. All the accused have confessed to their crime and told us about their roles in the electrocution of the lion and the subsequent throwing of the carcass into the dam water.'' He said that the statements of the accused had been registered and that they would seek 15-day remand for them.

The seven accused are Manji Lakha, his brothers Ravji and Dhiru, sons Bhikha and Sanjay, and two others_ Bharat Daya and Kishor Kala. Manji is the husband of Amarapur sarpanch Kanchanben and he is also the BJP's elected member of Malia-Hatina taluka panchayat.

In connection with the October 19 incident in which the carasses of five lions were recovered from the outskirts of Prempara village near Dhari in Amreli district, the four accused have been sent on judicial custody. The Judicial Magistrate (First Class) court of Dhari had rejected their bail application.

Later, on Friday, two of the accused _Ravji Hirani and Bhala Parmar_ approached the court at Rajula but this court also rejected their bail application. In the Rajula court, another application requesting a stay on the Dhari court order on narca-analysis for the prime accused is pending.

Deputy Conservator of Forest (Gir East) J S Solanki said, "Now, prime accused Durlabhji Vadodaria has approached Rajula court and demanded a stay on his narco-analysis. Hearing for the same has been fixed on November 6.''

Meanwhile, the Bharatiya Kisan Sangh (BKS) has said that they will hold agitation against forest department from November 9 highlighting the issue of deaths of lions and also undue harassment of farmers by officials. The BKS units at Dhari, Khambha, and Talala have already submitted memorandums to range forest offices in this connection.

The memorandum reads: "The forest department has failed to provide adequate safety and security to the lions. We demand that 15-feet high walls be built surrounding the entire Gir forest." The memorandum also alleged that forest officials were wrongfully harassing the farmers in connection with death of lions.


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