Lucknow: The war of words between the ruling BJP and the Samajwadi Party in Uttar Pradesh intensified on Sunday after the forest department filed a case and issued a notice to an Uttar Pradesh man who rescued a Sarus crane and took care of it for a year.
While SP chief Akhilesh Yadav said the government should have honoured Arif Khan Gurjar, who rescued the crane, and given him a prize, UP BJP chief Bhupendra Singh Chaudhary said Yadav should understand the difference between a cow and a Sarus which is conserved in the zoological garden, and not ”kept in confinement”.
The crane, which lived with Gurjar in the Mandkha village of Amethi district, accompanied him to his fields and was accepted ”like a family member”, was taken away by forest department officials on March 21.
The bird was shifted to the Samaspur sanctuary in Rae Bareli to allow it to live in its natural environment, an official had said.
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On Saturday, the department issued a notice to Gurjar and asked him to appear at the office of the Gauriganj divisional forest officer on April 4 to record his statement.
Chaudhary said, ”Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath’s love for animals and birds is well known to the people. The SP chief has to understand the difference between a cow and a sarus.
”The sarus is conserved in the zoological garden, and not kept in captivity. The SP chief is doing politics in the garb of Sarus and Arif’s name.” Chaudhary added, ”The SP chief does not see a prosperous UP in six years. He is worried about the politics in the garb of the bird, and not the bird.”
Referring to Arif, Akhilesh Yadav on Sunday, said, ”The government should have honoured Arif as a friend of the Sarus and given him a prize. If there was a Samajwadi Party government, we would have promoted such a youth.”
According to the notice issued by Assistant Divisional Forest Officer (Gauriganj) Ranvir Singh, Gurjar has been booked under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act.
Arif issued a video statement, acknowledging the case and the notice, but said he was ”absolutely innocent”. ”I had got the Sarus crane in an injured state. I took it to my house, and gave treatment to it. And, it was never my intention that the Sarus crane should remain with us.”
”I thought that after its injury is healed, the crane would fly away from here. It used to go, and then come back again. I had not forcibly kept the Sarus (with myself). I am innocent in this case,” Arif said.