Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav and Amethi man Arif Khan Gurjar, who cared for an injured sarus crane for a year before it was taken away by forest officials much to his dismay, were not allowed to see the bird at the Kanpur zoo with officials telling them it was under quarantine.
The crane lived with Gurjar in Amethi district's Mandkha village "like a family member" for months. But last Tuesday, forest officials shifted it to the Samaspur Bird Sanctuary in Rae Bareli so that it could live in its "natural environment". It was subsequently moved to the zoo here.
Yadav, during his Kanpur visit on Tuesday, went to the zoo with Arif to see the bird but they returned disappointed.
The Samajwadi Party chief was told that the bird is under 15-day quarantine and a team of doctors is keeping a close watch on its health, a senior forest department official said, requesting anonymity.
The official, however, added the two spent about an hour there and saw the sarus on CCTV screens.
The SP chief criticised the government for taking away the bird from Arif and sending a legal notice to him.
"I went to meet Irfan Solanki, he was shifted to Maharajganj jail. I went to meet sarus, and it was sent to Kanpur zoo," Yadav said. "Action is being taken against those whom I meet. Now, I am thinking of meeting high-profile people." He also suggested Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath establish a safari for bulls instead of sarus or reindeers.
"If the bird is sent to Etawah from Kanpur, I would be happy as there are lots of sarus cranes there," Yadav told reporters. Etawah is his home town.
The forest department officials have filed a case against Arif under relevant sections of the wildlife protection act and issued him a notice, asking him to appear and record his statement.
Yadav, however, expressed hope that the government would close the case and not impose any fine on him as he just helped an injured bird.
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