Maharashtra Minister in dock for fondling a tiger in Nagpur Zoo

August 17th, 2009 - 2:39 pm ICT by ANI  

Nagpur, Aug 17 (ANI): After coming under fire from animal rights activists for entering a tiger enclosure at Nagpur Zoo, Maharashtra Agriculture Minister Balasaheb Thorat on Monday strongly denied doing any wrong.

Dismissing the criticism, Thorat said he did not do anything illegal.

“I had gone into the enclosure to see how the authorities were taking care of wild animals, ” he said.

On Sunday, Thorat, who is also the district in charge minister of Nagpur, entered a tiger enclosure in Nagpur Zoo along with a tiger trainer, District Congress Committee President Jaiprakash Gupta and his gunman.

A video footage of the incident which was made public by a section of the media has kick started a controversy for Thorat.

In the video footage, Thorat is seen bending down and playing with the tiger. At one point, the tiger tries to break away from the duo, but is restrained and brought back.

Thorat visited the zoo and inspected the facilities available for both animals and visitors.

Gupta said the zoo authorities insisted that Thorat should enter the cage during his visit.

Animal rights activists have registered a strong protest demanding action against Thorat for violation of the Wildlife Protection Act.

As per the Wildlife Protection Act only zoo authorities are permitted to enter animal enclosures.

The state forest department has initiated an inquiry into the incident. (ANI)

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