Saturday, April 20, 2013

Gir villages shut for a day for ‘their’ lions

Gir villages shut for a day for 'their' lions
The Indian Express

Protesters march at Sasan on Thursday. Express

Days after the Supreme Court ordered for the trans-location of Asiatic lions from Gir forests to Madhya Pradesh, Sasan, the well-known destination for lion safaris, and other villages bordering the wildlife sanctuary observed a bandh and submitted a memorandum to the local revenue officer.

Hotel owners of Sasan and local shopkeepers took out a rally in the village and they were joined by residents of nearby villages like Chitrod, Bhjde and Vihvel.

Sasan is a village on the boundary of Gir sanctuary and is the main entry point to it.

Volunteers of NGO Prakruti Nature Club of Kodinar and Environment Protection Committee, another NGO based in nearby Veraval town, also took part in the rally.

Later in the day, the protesters drove in a cavalcade of Maruti Gypsies, used for safaris, to Talala town and submitted a memorandum to mamlatdar demanding that the state government file a review petition in the apex court against its Monday verdict.

"Lion-based tourism is the only means of livelihood for residents of all these villages. If lions are trans-located to Madhya Pradesh, we shall lose tourists and in turn our means of sustenance. Hence we demand the state government file a review petition in the Supreme Court," Khimji Sandera, president of Sasan Gypsy Association, told The Indian Express over phone.

During the day-long shutdown, shops and many hotels in the Sasan remained closed while no lion safari was organised. However, Sandera said they would resume work from Friday but their fight against sending Asiatic lions from their only habitat in Gir to Madhya Pradesh

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