The police on Friday resorted to lathicharge after people from Balbhadrapur village here protested against the shifting of an elephant to Mathura, and did not allow the vehicle carrying the jumbo to move, officials said. District Forest Officer Neeraj Kumar Arya said a person named Shailesh Tiwari, a resident of Balbhadrapur village under the Gyanpur forest division, had domesticated the elephant named 'Gulabi' without any license for the past 20 years and was utilizing it for commercial works.
"Information in this regard was obtained on May 24, and Tiwari was arrested on the same day. After this, Chief Judicial Magistrate Sabiha Khatoon, on June 1 issued orders to shift 'Gulabi' to Wildlife SOS Super Speciality Centre in Mathura," Arya said. He said officials from the Mathura-based center had earlier come to take the elephant but a person Dharmendra Tiwari, who claimed to be the owner of the elephant, moved the court of Additional District Judge P N Srivastava and presented documents.
The court on Friday fixed July 13 as the next date for hearing in the case, Arya said. Arya added that 'Gulabi' was kept tied up due to which she had developed serious wounds and needed treatment, and that is why she was sent to Mathura on Friday. However, when Dharmendra saw the elephant being taken in an ambulance on Friday, he collected hundreds of villagers, tried to stop the vehicle, and also gheraoed the office of the forest department, he said.
The villagers who had gathered argued that till the court order comes, 'Gulabi' should not be sent to Mathura, officials said. However, forest officials told the villagers that if the court delivers its judgment in favor of Dharmendra, the elephant will then be brought back. But, in the current situation, Gulabi needs to be sent to Mathura for treatment, officials said.