Temple priest's samadhi constructed inside MP's Panna tiger reserve

  • Anupam Pateria & Rahul Noronha, Hindustan Times, Sagar/Bhopal
  • Updated: Apr 16, 2015 17:18 IST

A day after a temple priest died, his followers forcibly constructed a samadhi inside the MP's Panna tiger reserve, an official said on Wednesday.

Sources said senior officials were present at the spot when the incident took place but they could not take any action due to lack of adequate police force.

No case has been registered against the followers of the priest for encroachment and illegal construction.

According to law, no construction is allowed in a tiger reserve without the express approval of the national board for wildlife. Moreover, land notified as tiger reserve cannot be put to any non-forestry use.

Sources said Babbu Maharaj, a priest at the Jhalaria temple located inside the reserve, died on Monday. His followers gathered at the spot and demanded the temple priest be buried at Jhalaria.

The park management that was present at the spot refused to allow the burial inside the park.

The supporters then buried the priest at Bhusora, also inside the national park.

On Tuesday, a crowd gathered at Bhusora and reiterated their demand of construction of a samadhi inside the forest camp.

Rajnagar sub-divisional magistrate Ravindra Chauksey and Panna reserve deputy director Anupam Sahai reached the spot along with police but the crowd forcibly constructed the samadhi as the senior officials looked on.

Panna tiger reserve field director R Sriniwas Murthy confirmed the incident. "A case will be registered against the guilty soon," he said, adding the administration was in talks with the villagers to exhume the body and shift the samadhi outside the park.

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