AHMEDABAD: The strength of the emotional bond that the people of Gujarat share with the lions was expressed on Tuesday when the residents of Kodinar and Sasan came out on the streets to protest against the translocation of lions, ordered by the Supreme Court. Jeep owners and the Guides' Association were holding a meeting till late on Tuesday night mulling whether to go on strike.
The sarpanch of Sasan has decided to call for a bandh on Wednesday. On Tuesday, when volunteers of the Prakruti Nature club led by Dinesh Goswami and Jignesh Gohil began their protests, even some forest staff -beat guards, jeep drivers and guides - joined the action. Sarpanch Laxman Dhokadia said that as soon as the news spread among the people that the lions would be translocated to Madhya Pradesh, gloom descended on Sasan.
Dhokadia said that even several leaders from Sasan met forest officials and made a representation that the lions should not be translocated. He said that the lions were the state's property and not national assets. "We the people of Saurashtra saved the lions," he said. "How can you take them away from us. We will also give a memorandum to the officials on Wednesday to press for our demand to stop translocation."
Members of several nature clubs took out a rally in Kodinar to protest against the translocation. They stated that the translocation would be dangerous for the lions. The members also said that the people who carried out poaching in Gir in 2007 were from Katni in Madhya Pradesh and hence the lions could not be safe in that state. The clubs' members have also threatened to resort to self-immolation if the lions were shifted to Madhya Pradesh.