Kannada actors under police scanner for wearing tiger claw pendants
Pro-Kannada outfit ‘Sarvasanghatanegala Okkuta’ also demanded action against those who own body parts and skin of tigers
Days after the arrest of Bigg Boss Kannada contestant Varthur Santhosh from the sets of the regional reality show for allegedly wearing a tiger claw pendant, social media has been abuzz with photos of Kannada film actors and politicians flaunting similar lockets.
According to forest department officials, complaints have been filed against Karnataka Rajya Sabha MP and actor Jaggesh, Janata Dal (Secular) leader and former chief minister HD Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumarawamy, actor Darshan, producer Rockline Venkatesh and others. The complaints have been registered under Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, and action has been sought for wearing such pendants.
Pro-Kannada outfit ‘Sarvasanghatanegala Okkuta’ also demanded action against those who own body parts and skin of tigers. Several other organisations have also written to the forest department seeking action against Darshan and Jaggesh, officials in the know of the developments said.
Meanwhile, Nikhil’s wedding pictures, in which he can be seen flaunting what looks like a tiger claw pendant, are being widely circulated on social media. Nikhil, while clarifying about the same, on Wednesday said that he was not wearing an original tiger claw.
Responding to the claims, Nikhil said, “Photos of me wearing a tiger claw locket during my wedding are being circulated. It was gifted by a relative during my wedding and it is not an original tiger claw. I still have the locket with me. The forest department officials can check it.”
Images of a renowned astrologer Vinay Guruji seen sitting on a tiger skin also surfaced on social media. However, the astrologer claimed that it was gifted to him by a person named Amarendra Kirti.
Reacting to the complaints, forest department officer Ravindra Kumar said that they would initiate action after discerning the truth. “We have received complaints, but we will have to find out the reality of these images. Once we ascertain, we will take action according to the law,” Kumar said.
Forest Minister Eshwar Khandre on Wednesday said action will be taken against those who violate the law. “According to the Wildlife Act, wildlife skin, ivory, deer skin, and horns cannot be used or stored. We have received some complaints and the department will investigate and take action. There is no question of acting soft on anybody. All the complaints will be investigated and action will be taken,” Khandre said.
Santhosh was arrested on Sunday night by the forest department for wearing a tiger claw pendant during the reality show. The television personality was arrested from the sets of the television show, after the crew brought him out of the Bigg Boss house. He was arrested on the basis of a suo-motu complaint filed by the forest department under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which makes wearing or displaying any body part of animals a punishable offence.
Santhosh was produced before the Second Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) court at National Games Village in Bengaluru’s Koramangala on Monday. The magistrate sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.
Meanwhile, Santhosh’s relatives and supporters on Wednesday staged a protest near Varthur. The protesters demanded Santhosh’s release and also urged Khandre to intervene in the matter.
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