Lions are Gujarat’s pride but in a disturbing video, three men are seen chasing a lion on a JCB in Lunsapur village of Amreli district in Gujarat. Some of the accused shot videos on their mobile phones while driving dangerously close to the lions on what appeared to be a village road. The arrests were made based on videos that went viral and came to the notice of the forest department.
Police arrested Shubham Prajapati who hails from Uttar Pradesh, Manoj Vansh from Varsingpur village of Una district and Rana Manek from Assam. As per the reports, these men shot the videos two weeks ago. Here, the lion is seen running as fast as it could. The JCB used by the accused is also seized by the police. Three of them were presented in Jafrabad court for the heinous crime.
Gujarat is the only home of Asiatic lions. As per the 2020 census, there are 674 lions in the State, a 29 % rise in its population compared to the 2015 census. The state has a total of 206 lions, 309 lionesses, 130 cubs and 29 other unidentified big cats. Protecting lions is on the State’s agenda and therefore, chasing or participating in illegal lion shows invites action under the Wildlife Protection Act and the offense is non-bailable.
In 2021, the forest department registered an FIR against 12 persons after a viral video showed them gathered to watch an illegal show, in which a lion killed and feasted on a cattle tied to a pole at a village in the Gir forest of Junagadh.