A Day after purported videos of a group of men filming an Asiatic lion charging at a cow – and attempting to kill it – went viral, the forest department on Friday detained five men and launched a hunt for the prime accused who is on the run.
At least two videos in this connection had gone viral on social media on Thursday. In the purported videos, a male Asiatic lion is seen emerging from a bush and charging at a cow and attempting to kill the bovine. A group of men is also seen shooting videos of the encounter with their mobile phones.
On Friday, Dushyant Vasavada, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) of Junagadh Wildlife Circle, said that the forest department had detained five men in connection with the alleged harassment of the lion and entering the reserved forest area without due permission. The accused have been identified as Mukesh Singhad, Dilip Singhad, Dilip Lalakiya, Bhana Singhad and Satish Nagraliya. Forest officers said that while Nagraliya was a resident of Jamvala village of Gir Gadhada taluka of Gir Somnath district, the remaining four are residents of Ghantvad village in Kodinar taluka of the district.
“The videos were shot in Ghantvad village near Jamvala. The manner in which the lion arrives at the spot, and the fact that the accused knew the direction from which the lion arrives, suggests something criminal. We are investigating if the accused had baited the lion,” Vasavada told The Indian Express. He added that Mayuddin Kadri, the prime accused in the case, is absconding.
The CCF said that if the Covid-19 tests of the five detained accused return negative, they will be arrested and produced in a court. He added that the video was shot in a reserved forest which is a part of Gir forest.
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