The wildlife officials and the police had managed to create some space for a leopard to escape in Mandawar village on November 24 last year. The leopard rushed towards the cleared portion, but a mob suddenly got aggressive and attacked the big cat with weapons, killing the animal, the wildlife department has clarified in response to a notice by wildlife activists seeking action taken report in killing of the three-and-half-year-old leopard in Mandawar village, 40 km from Gurgaon.
People for Animals (PFA), an animal rights organisation, had sent a legal notice in February to MoEF, Gurgaon police commissioner, forest and wildlife department under Section 55 of the Wildlife Protection Act (1972), seeking action against the officials responsible for killing the big cat.
In its reply to the notice sent last week, the wildlife department mentioned that the mob misbehaved with Kanwar Pal, a wildlife inspector, and attacked Raj Kumar, a wildlife guard when they tried to come in between the mob and the leopard.
The wildlife department has stated that an FIR was filed in this regard and the further action is to be taken by the police. “In this offence, action is to be taken under wildlife protection act 1972, CrPC, and the IPC. Therefore, this matter was referred to the police for lodging FIR because only police can take action under CrPC and IPC (sic),” the letter reads.
In response to the wildlife department’s reply, the animal right activists are planning to move court seeking action against officials responsible for the leopard’s killing.
The notice had allowed government functionaries 60 days to address the issue failing which, the organisation had threatened to take legal recourse.
“The big cat was beaten to death by villagers in a hunt that lasted over three hours in the presence of wildlife and police officers. The officials were responsible for the death of the wild animal. We will take the matter to court,” Amit Chaudhery, president, PFA, Gurgaon, said.
“We carried out two successful leopard rescue operations in Mewat and Palwal recently. The FIR has to be lodged by the police and not by the wildlife department. We reached the spot within an hour-and-a-half which is normal. We also carried out all measures to save the leopard,” Shyam Sunder Kaushik, divisional forest officer, wildlife, Gurgaon, said.