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Business News/ News / IFS officer Prabin Lal Agarwal names lion pair ‘Akbar and Sita’, face suspension. Here's why
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IFS officer Prabin Lal Agarwal names lion pair ‘Akbar and Sita’, face suspension. Here's why

Tripura government suspends chief conservator of forests for naming zoo lion and lioness as Akbar and Sita, offending religious sentiments.

Lions Sita and Akbar were brought from the Sepahijala Zoological Park in Tripura. | Representational image Premium
Lions Sita and Akbar were brought from the Sepahijala Zoological Park in Tripura. | Representational image

The Tripura government suspended the state's principal chief conservator of forests (wildlife and ecotourism), Prabin Lal Agrawal, on Saturday following a controversy over the naming of a zoo lion and lioness as Akbar and Sita, respectively.

As reported by Times of India, Agrawal, a 1994-batch IFS officer who was serving as Tripura's chief wildlife warden at the time, documented the names Akbar and Sita for the lion couple in the dispatch register before sending them to Siliguri. 

The suspension came after a complaint was filed by the VHP to the Calcutta High Court, alleging that the names were offensive to religious sentiments. A lion named 'Akbar' and a lioness named 'Sita' were transferred from Tripura’s Sepahijala Zoological Park to the Bengal Safari Park in Siliguri on February 12.

The VHP filed a petition before the circuit bench requesting a name change, citing that the names had offended the religious sentiments of some citizens.

“The court expressed its displeasure over the naming...," said advocate Subhankar Dutta, representing the VHP, who mentioned that the issue would soon be brought before a regular bench of the High Court.

Also Read: Vishva Hindu Parishad's plea against naming lioness 'Sita' at Siliguri zoo: 'We worship lions', says Calcutta High Court

Earlier on February 22, the Calcutta High Court judge observed orally, “An animal should not be named after any deity or figure belonging to any religion."

The court said that India is a secular country and every community has the right to pursue or follow their own religion.

“Why should you draw controversy by naming a lioness and a lion after Sita and Akbar?"

The judge said Sita is worshipped by a large section of citizens, while Akbar “was a very successful and secular Mughal emperor." Moreover, Justice Bhattacharya said he did not support the names of both animals, PTI reported.

The North Bengal unit of the parishad stated that they became aware through media reports that a lion and lioness, identified by markings IL26 and IL27 respectively, had arrived at the Bengali Safari Park as part of an animal exchange program, with the lioness being named “Sita". 

(With inputs from agencies)

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Published: 26 Feb 2024, 01:32 PM IST
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