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Bengal Wing Of VHP Moves HC Bench Over Naming A Lioness After Hindu Deity

The Hindutva outfit has claimed that the naming of an animal after Sita, a sacred Hindu deity to many, has been recognized as a sacrilegious and blasphemous act.

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The Bengal wing of the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) has moved the Calcutta High Court's circuit bench in Jalpaiguri on February 16 against a lioness at the Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri being named ‘Sita’.

The two lions aged seven and six, brought to the park, have been named ‘Akbar’ and ‘Sita’. The Hindutva outfit has claimed that the naming of an animal after Sita, a sacred Hindu deity to many, has been recognised as a sacrilegious and blasphemous act. The State's Forest Authorities and Bengal's Safari Park director have been made parties to the case, and the plea mentioned before a bench of a bench of Justice Saugata Bhattacharyya has been listed for hearing on February 20.

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The Issue

The Hindutva group has filed the petition owing to the naming of a lion after a Hindu deity hurting the religious sentiments of many and it being an act of blasphemy by "anti-Hindu conspirators". A letter written to the Commissioner of Police of the Siliguri Commissionerate from the state secretary of VHP read “VHP with deep anguish observed that a member of the cat family has been named after the name of Sita the consort of Lord Rama who herself is a scared deity to all Hindus across the world. Such act amounts to blasphemy and is a direct assault on the religious belief of all Hindus.”

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The letter further requested the addressed to take necessary steps to rename the lion with a name not connected to Hindu religious markers.

According to LiveLaw, the plea also read “That to the utmost surprise of the petitioners on 14/02/2024 Uttar Banga Sambad carried a news item with the heading "Sangir khoje astir Sita" (Sita restless in search of a partner). Incidentally, the male lion was given the name of "Akbar". The said article and indicated in a lewd way and represented the news in a much objection manner which was bound to hurt the religious sentiments of all Hindus across the country.”

According to numerous media reports, the issue has also been linked to the fact that a lion named after a Hindu deity, Sita, has been enclosed in the same space as one named after a Muslim ruler. Another contentious issue is whether the naming of the lions have taken place after the lions were brought to the park from the Sepahijala Zoological Park, Tripura. It was also heard that West Bengal CM was supposed to name the lions, but it is unclear whether that has happened.

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