Thursday, April 18, 2013

Gir lions’ shifting: Bandh call, suicide threat mark Sasan stir

Gir lions' shifting: Bandh call, suicide threat mark Sasan stir
Daily Bhaskar

The people of Sasan in Gir have called for a 'Sasan bandh' on Thursday against the Supreme Court order directing that some of the Asiatic Lions of Gir be shifted to Madhya Pradesh. There will also be a rally in Sasan against any shifting of the lions.
The local people are so agitated that some of them have even threatened to commit self-immolation if the lions are relocated from their abode in Gir.
Dinesh Goswami, president of Kodinar-based Prakruti Nature Club, said that the Apex Court's decision was "unfortunate". "It is based on a report prepared by biased scientists," he said. Meanwhile, the Gujarat government is preparing to move a petition in the Apex Court asking for a review of the court's earlier order. The government has announced that it will fight to prevent relocation of the lions till the last legal option is exhausted. More on p2
Gujarat Government on Wednesday decided to file a review petition in Supreme Court, challenging the apex court's directive to translocate of Asiatic Lions from Gir Forests to Kuno-Palpur in Madhya Pradesh. SC had on Monday ordered transfers of the lions to MP, creating a political and social stir in Gujarat.
 "We have received copy of the judgement and have studied it primarily. The government has decided to fight the legal battle till the last option to ensure that the lions remain in Gujarat," said Nitin Patel, state finance minister and spokesperson, indicating that the government will be filing a protest petition in the matter. "We have argued in the case, in detail, and filed affidavits about the facts on Asiatic Lions, including its genesis to the recent development."
A senior government official, who has worked in the case, has indicated that it wouldn't be difficult for the government to stop transfer of lions to MP.
 "In one of the affidavits filed, we have written about the lions' behaviour with locals in Gir," said the official. "People there love the animal and ensure its safety. The lion is habituated to human presence."
 "This kind of peaceful, non-conflicting coexistence may not be possible in Madhya Pradesh," he added. "Also the area provided for the lion (in Madhya Pradesh) isn't enough. There is possibility of lion-tiger, lion-human conflicts."

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