Saturday, April 20, 2013

Uproar in Sasan against lion relocation, bandh today

Uproar in Sasan against lion relocation, bandh today

Amid demands for review petition, an activist has threatened self-immolation.

The Supreme Court, in its judgment on Gir lions, may have quashed Gujarat's prejudices by sharing its Pride, but the state seems to be in no mood to let its hurt pride suffer in silence. An agitation is brewing against the verdict on translocation of lions from Gujarat to MP. Local tempers in the sanctuary are rising, so much so that some have also threatened to self-immolate if the committee to be set up on SC directions does not stop the shift.

"This is a very unfortunate decision, which is based on a biased report prepared by scientists.

I'm garnering public support against the decision and fifty of us ready to end our lives through self-immolation," claimed Dinesh Goswami, president of Kodinar-based Prakruti Nature Club.  

But some others believe that filing a review petition is the best option. "We have sent a memorandum demanding review of the case. We want state government to file a review petition in the issue. It is an SC verdict and our hands are tied," said Bhikhubhai Jethva, president of Khambha-Gir Nature Club.

"The argument under which translocation is approved by the Supreme Court is based on flawed research," said president of Sasan Gir Hotels Association, Mehul Mehta. He said that there is ample scope of relocation of lions in Gujarat itself.

Meanwhile, traders, hoteliers and forest beat guards are also joining the protest. The area is going to observe a bandh on Thursday under leadership of sarpanch of Sasan and Bhalchel. A protest rally has also been planned on Saturday which will be joined by residents in sanctuary area and villagers.

Govt to file review petition in lion translocation case
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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