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Saturday, April 20, 2024

PCCF suspended over controversy name of lion couple


 BY TC News Desk

Agartala, 26th February 2024 :  The Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF), holding the charge of Chief Wildlife Warden & Ecotourism, Pravin Lal Agrawal suspended over the name of controversy of a lion couple as Akbar and Sita, which were relocated from Tripura to West Bengal.

Agrawal has been suspended after a complaint filed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) with the Calcutta High Court, claiming that the names Akbar and Sita are offensive to religious sentiments.

The animals, transferred from Sepahijala Zoo in Tripura to the North Bengal Wild Animals Park in Siliguri, North Bengal on February 12, sparked the controversy. The suspension order states that disciplinary proceedings against P.L. Agrawal, 1994 batch of IFS is contemplated and awaiting for investigation.

According to the order issued by the Tripura Government, the Competent Authority, exercising powers conferred by the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, has placed Shri P.L. Agrawal, IFS (TR:1994), under suspension with immediate effect. During the suspension period, Agrawal’s headquarters will be in Agartala, and he is prohibited from leaving the headquarters without obtaining prior permission from the competent authority.

According to reports, Agrawal, who was the chief wildlife warden then, recorded the name of the lioness as ‘Sita’ and lion as ‘Akbar’ in the dispatch register while sending them to Siliguri. The Siliguri park has accordingly notified the arrival of new animals in public in the name ducat in the register, which sparked a row.

Amid the raging controversy, the matter reached the Tripura govt for clarification and accordingly, Agrawal, a 1994-batch IFS officer was summoned in the meeting of council of ministers three days ago in which he allegedly denied naming the lion couple as Sita and Akbar. Later, it was found that the name was given by Tripura wildlife officials during the animal exchange programme.

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