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regular-article-logo Thursday, 25 April 2024

Tripura forest official placed under suspension over naming lion duo as Akbar and Sita

Once the names of the lion pair became public, the local VHP unit moved the Calcutta High Court’s Circuit Bench at Jalpaiguri on February 21 on the ground that the names hurt the sentiments of the Hindus

Umanand Jaiswal Guwahati Published 27.02.24, 08:55 AM
Representational image

Representational image File picture

A senior Tripura forest official has been placed under suspension over the naming of a lion pair relocated to a Bengal zoo as Sita and Akbar respectively.

The state General Administration Department suspended the principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden P.L. Agrawal on February 22 pending disciplinary proceedings.

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No reason was cited for the suspension but the 1994 batch IFS has been asked not to
leave the headquarters (Agartala) without permission of competent authority.

A source said the suspension order was apparently issued following a meeting between him and chief minister Manik Saha over the naming controversy.

“It is not known who named the lion pair but the official (Agrawal) reply to the naming controversy was not satisfactory,” the source said without elaborating.

The lion and lioness were relocated to the North Bengal Wild Animals Park in Siliguri (West Bengal) from the Sepahijala Zoological Park in Tripura under an animal exchange programme on February 12.

However, once the names of the lion pair became public, the local VHP unit moved the Calcutta High Court’s Circuit Bench at Jalpaiguri on February 21 on the ground that the names hurt the sentiments of the Hindus.

The court, admitting the petition, ordered the change of names.

The lion was named after Mughal emperor Akbar and the lioness after Goddess Sita respectively.

Reports suggest the North Bengal Zoo authorities denied naming the lion pair, adding the Tripura Zoo authorities can only legally change the names.

Sources said Agrawal’s response to the naming controversy was far from satisfactory. The names were reportedly recorded before the lion pair was transported to Bengal.

Forest officials in Tripura were not willing to talk on the issue as the matter was sub judice. It was also not clear whether there were other reasons for the suspension except that the official had been suspended.

Only an inquiry can bring out the truth, the source said.

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