Forest service officer suspended in Tripura over 'Akbar' and 'Sita' naming row

Pravin L. Agrawal denied naming the animals, but later, it was found that they were named in Tripura before being sent to West Bengal

Representative image
Representative image


The Tripura government has suspended Indian Forest Service (IFoS) officer Pravin L. Agrawal following the row over naming a lion and lioness 'Akbar' and 'Sita', against which a case was filed by the Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP), officials said on Monday.

The lion and lioness were sent to Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri from Tripura's Sepahijala Zoological Park on 12 February.

The VHP's northern West Bengal unit filed a petition before the Jalpaiguri circuit bench of the Calcutta High Court, praying that the names be changed as they had hurt the religious sentiments.

Agrawal, who was posted as the principal chief conservator of forest (Wildlife & Ecotourism), was suspended on 22 February in connection with the incident, Tripura's forest secretary Avinash Kanfade told PTI.

The high court had asked the West Bengal Zoo Authority to consider renaming the lioness and lion, and wondered why there was a need to "create a controversy" by giving such names.

Taking into consideration the entire gamut of the row, the BJP government in Tripura had sought an explanation from Agrawal, who was earlier the chief wildlife warden.

Agrawal denied naming the lion and lioness, but later, it was found that the animals were named before they were sent to West Bengal as per the dispatch register, another official said.

"Since Agrawal was the chief wildlife warden of Tripura during the relocation process of the animals, he was placed under suspension," the official said. Agrawal, a 1994-batch officer, was not available for comments.

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