Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Wildlife activist shot dead near HC

Wildlife activist shot dead near HC

A wildlife activist and crusader, who had started a campaign against the mining mafia that had endangered the Asiatic Lion in the Gir sanctuary, was brutally murdered near the Gujarat High Court on Tuesday night.

Amit Jethava, who had forced the Kodinar police to register complaints against the mining mafia through an RTI, was killed by two persons who came on a motorcycle and fired four rounds from close range from a revolver, police sources said.

A .12 bore revolver was found a little distance away from the spot. According to primary information, Jethava had got down the stairs of Satyamev Complex, bang opposite the high court, after having had a word with his advocate Vijay Nagesh around 8.45 pm.

As soon as he opened the door of his Maruti Gypsy, one of the duo fired at Jethava from behind, just three feet away. A dog squad that reached the spot found two live cartridges and one of the sandals of the culprits on a road some distance away from the spot.

An injured Jethva (inset) ran to the assailants, caught hold of them, but collapsed
Despite being fired at, Jethava ran after the duo, catching hold of one of them. However, they shook him off and ran towards the Sayona City in Ghatlodia, leaving their Bajaj Discover bike (registration number GJ-1 DG 2482) behind. Jethava collapsed and fell to the ground. He died on the spot.

H M Kundaliya, PI, Sola police station, said, "We are taking statements of eyewitnesses and people who had come to meet Jethava's lawyer. We have relayed a message across police stations to nab the culprits."

A resident of Vishwas City-II, Jethava is originally from Khambha village in Amreli district. He had filed a complaint against Aamir Khan in the Chinkara killing case and had taken up cudgels against the mining mafia in the Barda sanctuary.

But for Jethava and the RTI filed by him against the mafia, the police, that had refused to file complaint against the miners for four years, would never have registered a complaint. The hearing of as many as 35 illegal mines in the periphery of Gir is on in the high court.

Jethava's cousin told Ahmedabad Mirror, "For the past some time, Jethava had taken up the fight against illegal mining in the Gir periphery. The complaint filed by the geologist there was not taken up and it was only after the RTI filed by Jethava that the complaint was registered. Several politicians are also involved in the illegal mining activity near Gir and evasion of duty worth crores of rupees."

Police and forensic officials look for clues at the spot where Jethva was shot. The assailants abandoned their motorcycle

An injured Jethva (inset) ran to the assailants, caught hold of them, but collapsed

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