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‘Akbar-Sita’ Lion Pair Naming Row: Tripura Govt Suspends Top Official

Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) had alleged that the names ‘Akbar and Sita’ given to lion pair at a zoo in Tripura hurt religious sentiments.

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PTI
Lion pair naming row. (File photo-Representational image) | Photo: PTI
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A top official has been suspended by Tripura government amidst the controversy around the naming of a lion pair in a zoo in the state.

The principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife and ecotourism) Prabin Lal Agrawal was suspended after the row erupted over the naming of a zoo lion and lioness as Akbar and Sita, respectively, TOI reported.

Tripura government’s move came following a complaint by Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) in Calcutta High Court. The right wing group VHP had alleged that the names hurt religious sentiments.

Row:

The lion and lioness were relocated to North Bengal Wild Animals Park in Siliguri from Tripura's Sepahijala zoo on February 12, as part of an animal exchange programme.

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Agrawal, a 1994-batch IFS officer, was then serving as Tripura's chief wildlife warden. It is said that he recorded the names of the lion pair as Akbar and Sita in the dispatch register before dispatching them to Siliguri.

The move sparked public outrage, leading to a PIL filed by VHP's Bengal unit in Jalpaiguri circuit bench of Calcutta HC on Feb 21. The court ordered changing the names of the lion pair.

However, the Bengal forest department clarified that the names were given by Tripura, and any modification was the responsibility of Tripura zoo authorities.

Later, VHP filed a writ petition in HC, claiming that “the names were irrational and amounted to blasphemy”.

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Reportedly, in response to this, Tripura government sought clarification from Agrawal, who denied naming the lion pair as Akbar and Sita.

Later, it was reported that the names to lion pair were indeed given by Tripura wildlife officials during the animal exchange programme, leading to Agrawal's suspension.

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