31 May, 2007 - 0436 hrs ISTlTIMES NEWS NETWORK
NAGPUR: The case of the leopard's death at Sindhi Vihir village near Khapri-Thana has snowballed into a major controversy, with representatives of many NGOs deciding to form a committee to investigate into the alleged negligence of Naresh Zurmure, deputy conservator of forests (DCF), Nagpur. Zurmure has denied the charges.
"It was not a rescue operation but a 'killing' operation," the NGOs claimed. At a meeting held on Wednesday at the residence of Dilip Gode, member, state wildlife board, a four-member fact-finding committee under the chairmanship of Gode and Gopal Thosar, district wildlife warden, has been formed. The panel comprising Babanrao Nakhle, Kundan Hate, V Chandra and Ram Gawande will submit a report.
The committee including all the NGOs will file an FIR with the Butibori police station. If the police fail to register the FIR then we will approach the special IG. "All the procedure will be completed within four days," Hate said. After listening to Hate and Thosar, who were eyewitnesses to the tragic incident, committee chief Gode and others concluded that the forest officials present at the scene should be blamed for the mess. "It's shocking that Zurmure didn't pay heed to the suggestion of not to tranquillise the animal in water," said Gode.
Gode and other NGOs have raised many questions such as, why Zurmure reached the scene late? Why a vet was not called which is mandatory? Why a suggestion made by wildlife warden Thosar not to tranquillise the wild cat was rejected? Why other methods like using a net, taking assistance of firemen, was not put into action? Why a van majoor (labourer) was asked to sedate the animal? V Chandra of Van Kamgar Sanghatana, Ramesh Ladkhedkar of Vidarbha Human Nature Conservation Society and Prof Ram Gawande of Surajya Pratishthan blasted Zurmure for his adamant attitude and demanded his suspension.