Tripura Forest Official Suspended Amid Akbar-Sita Lion Naming Row

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The Tripura government has taken disciplinary action against Pravin Lal Agrawal, the principal chief conservator of forests and chief wildlife warden. Agrawal has been suspended in connection with the controversy surrounding the naming of a lion and lioness as Akbar and Sita, respectively, following their relocation from Tripura to West Bengal.

Naming Controversy Sparks Suspension

The suspension of Pravin Lal Agrawal follows a complaint filed by the Vishwa Hindu Parishad (VHP) with the Calcutta High Court. The VHP alleged that the chosen names, Akbar and Sita, for the zoo animals offended religious sentiments. This move highlights the sensitivity surrounding religious beliefs and practices.

The lions in question were originally housed at the Sepahijala Zoo in Tripura and were later moved to the North Bengal Wild Animals Park in Siliguri, West Bengal, on February 12. The decision to relocate the animals was aimed at enhancing conservation efforts and providing them with a more suitable environment.

The official order from the Tripura government emphasized that disciplinary action against PL Agrawal is being contemplated or pending. The order, invoking the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, stated, “Now, therefore, the Competent Authority, in the exercise of powers conferred by clause (a) of sub-rule (i) of rule 3 of the All India Services (Discipline and Appeal) Rules, 1969, hereby places the said Shri PL Agrawal, IFS (TR:1994), under suspension with immediate effect.”

During the period of suspension, Pravin Lal Agrawal is required to be stationed at the headquarters in Agartala, Tripura. Moreover, he is prohibited from leaving the station without prior authorization from the competent authority, underscoring the seriousness of the matter.

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