Students body protests Bhopal tiger deaths

March 18th, 2008 - 1:11 am ICT by admin  

Bhopal, March 17 (IANS) A students body affiliated to the opposition Congress Monday held a demonstration protesting the rising number of tiger deaths in the city’s Van Vihar National Park and demanded that the staff at the park be replaced. Eight big cats have died at the national park in the last one-and-a-half years, with the last death reported Friday when a three-year-old white tigress ‘Rashmi’ succumbed to a jaw injury she had sustained during a brawl with another tigress. She was also suffering from chronic septic arthritis for some time. The tigress had been brought to the park in 2006 from Borivali National Park, Mumbai.

The National Students Union of India (NSUI) activists, led by former Congress MLA P.C. Sharma, alleged that the animals were dying due to the negligence of the staff.

The activists also burnt an effigy of Forest Minister Vijay Shah and demanded that the staff at the park be transferred and new appointments be made.

Piqued over the frequent deaths of big cats in Van Vihar, Vijay Shah had Friday removed its director J.S. Chouhan and instituted a three-member committee to probe the death of ‘Rashmi’.

The director’s removal incensed the park employees, who kept Van Vihar closed for tourists the next day demanding reinstatement of Chouhan.

“How can a park official be held responsible for the death of the canine when all the treatment arrangements were in place. Also, how can anyone be held guilty without any inquiry,” asked Madhya Pradesh Wildlife Conservation Employees Union president Budhraj Bhagwan, who led the employees agitation.

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