U.P. man who looked after sarus for a yr booked, summoned to explain his side
LUCKNOW Amethi-resident Mohd Arif, who shot to limelight due to his unique bond with a sarus, has been booked for allegedly violating the Wildlife Act of 1972 (amended)
LUCKNOW Amethi-resident Mohd Arif, who shot to limelight due to his unique bond with a sarus, has been booked for allegedly violating the Wildlife Act of 1972 (amended). The case has been lodged based on a complaint made by the forest department.
Authorities have also summoned Arif, who looked after the bird for a year, to explain his side at the office of assistant conservator of forest in Gauriganj (Amethi) on April 2. In the legal notice, Ranvir Singh, assistant conservator of forest, said, “A case has been lodged for violating sections 2, 9, 29, 51, and 52 of the Wildlife Act of 1972 (amended). You (Arif) may come to get your statement recorded with the office on April 2 at 11 am.”
In his defence, Arif said, “I don’t deserve a legal notice for rescuing the bird. I didn’t chain the bird. It lived with me. What’s my fault.” In a video message, Arif said, “The forest department notice says there is a case lodged against me. I treated the sarus bird and wanted it to go back to jungle. It became my friend and did not leave.”
The sarus was found by Arif in August 2022. It was lying injured in his fields. The bird was unconscious and bleeding. He initially thought the sarus was dead but took the bird home after realising that it was still breathing. He cleaned the wound and applied a mix of turmeric and mustard on it. Subsequently, he devised a splint out of bamboo to keep the leg stable.
When the crane recovered, it didn’t fly away. Later, videos of Arif and the sarus went viral on social media platforms. The clips showed how the bird following him everywhere. Even when Arif rode his bike, the bird followed him. On March 6, Samajwadi Party president Akhilesh Yadav also met Arif and even posted a picture with the bird and Arif on Twitter on March 6.
Taking cognisance of the videos, forest officials took the bird into their custody on March 21 evening and released it in the Samaspur Bird Sanctuary in Rae Bareli. In a shocking twist thereafter, the bird allegedly went missing the next evening. However, it was found again on Friday (March 24) and the same day, Arif got a notice from the forest department. On Saturday, the bird was brought to the Kanpur zoo. “Arif should have intimated local forest officials after finding the bird,” said a senior forest official.