Officials of the forest department, who have lodged the FIR in the case, said it was for the first time that a dolphin was found in the sharda canal stream where it was allegedly beaten by the accused.
The Pratapgarh police in Uttar Pradesh have arrested three people accused of beating an endangered Gangetic Dolphin to death. The arrests were made after a viral video showed the four men beating the dolphin with sticks and axe. Three other men seen in the video are currently absconding.
Officials of the forest department, who have lodged the FIR in the case, said it was for the first time that a dolphin was found in the sharda canal stream where it was allegedly beaten by the accused. The department have constituted an inquiry to look into the incident.
The body of the Gangetic Dolphic was found in the Kotharia village under Nawabganj Police station area of Pratapgarh district, after which the locals reported it to the police. Later, on the complained of a local ranger, an FIR was lodged against unidentified people under sections 9 and 51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
While the officials of the forest department and that of police were looking into the case, a video of the incident went viral on social media, in which locals could be seen trying to catch the animal with a fishing-net and then beating it to death with sticks and axe.
Based on the video, the police made three arrests on Thursday. “We got a complaint from the Gram Pradhan of Kotharia village on December 31 that body of an animal has been found on the embankment of Sharda canal in the village. We rushed to the spot and later officials of the local administration as well forest also came,” said Akhilesh Pratap Singh, Station House officer of Nawabganj police station, where the dolphin was found.
He further informed, “Later as a video of the incident surfaced, we were able to identify three accused, who have been arrested, while we are on the lookout for others. The three arrested are all from Unchahar area of Rae Bareli, which is the neighbouring district and were there to do fishing in the canal.”
In the video, villagers could be heard debating whether it is a fish or not, with some saying that they would have a big feast with the kill. At least 7 men were seen hitting the animal with sticks and axe from all sides.
District Forest Officer, Varun Singh, informed, “It was an adult Gagentic Dolphin, which is in the endangered category. This is for the first time that a dolphin has been found in the canal here. While they usually move in deep waters, we do not know how it entered the canal. We are having discussions with all the concerned departments including the irrigation and are investigating the entire case. We have also searched the entire upstream and downstream of the Sharda canal but have not found any other dolphin,”
He further said, “We are investigating the entire incident and would soon sent a report to the Government to ensure that such an incident is not repeated in the future.”
The three youth, who have been arrested in the incident are Rahul, 20, Rahul Lal, 19, Anuj, 20, All are residents of Unchahar area of Rae Bareli district, which touches the border of Pratapgarh.
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