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12 fishermen held in Sundarbans for harassing tiger, prodding it with bamboo poles

A senior forest department official said it was evident from the video that the fishermen steered the trawler towards the tiger with the sole intention of harassing it.

india Updated: Jul 05, 2018 20:16 IST
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Sumanta Ray Chaudhuri
Hindustan Times, Kolkata
Fishermen harass tiger,Sunderbans,West Bengal
Despite the harassment, the tiger managed to swim across without injury. (Photo by Pramod Thakur/ Hindustan Times)(Pramod Thakur/ HT Pic for representational purposes only)

The Sundarbans Coastal Police arrested 12 fishermen on Thursday after a video allegedly showed them prodding a tiger with bamboo poles as it swam through a river.

Police said the fishermen were rowing down the water body in a trawler on June 29, when they saw the tiger swimming by. A video of the incident showed them drawing close and poking the animal.

Forest minister Binoy Krishna Burman confirmed making the arrest under the Wildlife (Protection) Act-1972. “Disturbing or torturing animals without reason is becoming a menace these days. I will not tolerate it at any cost. Nobody found guilty will be spared,” he said.

As the Sundarbans region has a number of rivers crisscrossing through it, tigers often swim from one island to another. The video of this particular incident was circulated earlier this week.

A senior forest department official said it was evident from the video that the fishermen steered the trawler towards the tiger with the sole intention of harassing it. “Fortunately, the tiger managed to reached its destination – Kendo Island – without injury,” he added.

The official said a joint team of the Sundarbans Coastal Police and forest guards identified the trawler and the fishermen on June 2. “A hunt was launched, and they were finally arrested this morning,” he added.

The video was believed to have been shot by somebody sailing alongside.

Two held with 21 soft shell turtles

The Bengal CID arrested two people and recovered 21 live Indian soft shell turtles from their possession on Thursday.

The accused have been identified as Srikanta Haldar (37) and Arbind Kumar (40). “The turtles were brought from Uttar Pradesh to Petrapole in North 24 Parganas district in a gunny bag,” a statement issued by the CID read. “A businessman from Uttar Pradesh has been arrested in this regard.”

The rescued turtles have been handed over to the forest department.

First Published: Jul 05, 2018 20:16 IST

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