Friday, September 30, 2011

Forester says shunted for his lion care

Forester says shunted for his lion care
Express News Service

Moves HC with petition that Talala Congress MLA got him transferred from Gir sanctuary in Junagadh
A forest officer has moved the Gujarat High Court challenging his transfer from the Gir sanctuary in Junagadh to Rajkot alleging that he was shifted because he had stopped 'lion shows' and several other illegal activities inside the sanctuary.

Acting on the petition by Range Forest Officer B K Parmar, which alleged that Talala Congress MLA Bhaga Barad was responsible for the transfer, a single-judge bench has ordered to name Barad as a respondent to the petition.

Parmar was transferred from the Gir lion sanctuary to the Rajkot Social Forest Department last week. Following this, he challenged the transfer through his lawyer, Mukul Sinha, who contended that the transfer was done at the instance of Barad.

To emphasise his point, Parmar has stated that the transfer was part of a series of five transfers that he received in the last two years because of his honest working style, which did not go well within the circles of his posting.

According to Sinha, Parmar has cited various instances where he acted against various persons found indulging in various illegal activities in the sanctuary, like conducting illegal 'lion shows' in Junagadh, which is the only abode of Asiatic lions in the world. He has alleged that locals used to tame lions using baits for visitors, who insisted on seeing the big cat at close quarters for a hefty fee. The officer had also effected arrests of some locals for the poaching of a chinkara inside the sanctuary.

Sinha said the local Maldhari community had approached Barad against Parmar, following which the transfer order came. He said the community members were indulging in various illegal activities inside the sanctuary which Parmar had resisted.

Giving another reason to indicate Barad's alleged role behind his transfer, Parmar cited a 2008 case when the latter was posted in Junagadh and the former along with his accomplices had allegedly attacked him. A criminal case was registered at the relevant time against certain persons, including Barad. "Because Parmar is discharging his duty without fear or favour of anybody, he keeps getting transferred quite frequently. And Barad being close to the local Maldhari community, we believe him to be behind the transfer," said Sinha.

The court has kept further hearing on October 3.

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