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Environmentalist attacked in Karnataka, two arrested

“As soon as the FIR was lodged, the accused were identified, their whereabouts traced and two were rounded up. The police department has taken immediate action,”

IANS | Chikkamagalur |

The Karnataka police have arrested two persons in connection with the attack on environmentalist D.V. Girish near Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary in Chikkamagalur district.

D.V. Girish was attacked by a group of vagabonds for confronting them when they tried to abuse a girl who was travelling in his vehicle. The miscreants stood on the road blocking the movement of vehicles and passed lewd comments on commuters.

The incident had taken place on Monday (August 30) near Kambihalli village in the forest area of Chikkamagalur. According to police, the miscreants had passed lewd comments when Girish was returning home after visiting a friend in Kattehole estate near Kemmannugundi with his friends including a minor girl.

Girish had objected to the comments and questioned the miscreants about their action and drove away. The miscreants had chased him on their bikes and attacked Girish and his friends. They also tried to drag out the minor girl from the vehicle.

The miscreants had repeatedly slapped and kicked Girish and his friend Keerthi Kumar. Some villagers who noticed what was happening, rescued them. The miscreants had also threatened Girish and his friends. A complaint was registered in Chikkamagaluru Rural police station on Tuesday in this regard. The video of the incident has gone viral.

Hakay Akshay Machindra, Superintendent of Police, Chikkamagaluru, talking to IANS confirmed that two persons have been arrested in connection with the case. “As soon as the FIR was lodged, the accused were identified, their whereabouts traced and two were rounded up. The police department has taken immediate action,” he said.

When asked about the incident he stated that it was unfortunate. “There is no scope for vagabondism. The incident has taken place in a forest area and it is serious. The miscreants have abused the girl orally. We have taken it with all seriousness. All action will be taken to contain such activities in future also. We have already started identifying areas to ensure more patrolling. All accused in the case will be taken to task. There is no question of going soft on them,” he claimed.

The case has been registered under IPC 149 (unlawful assembly), 323, 324 (assault), 341 (wrongful restraint), 506 (life threat) and the POCSO Act.

Girish ensured a quiet environmental revolution in 2003 by successfully helping to resolve man-animal conflict. That year, the Bhadra Wildlife Sanctuary became the first “inviolate” or “people-free” wildlife sanctuary in the country and many environmentalists saw the Bhadra resettlement as a model of conservation.

Girish won the Royal Bank of Scotland’s ‘Protect the Tiger’ Award in 2013 for his lifelong commitment towards protecting Karnataka’s Bhadra Tiger Reserve and its surrounding landscape in the Western Ghats.

Since 1994 he has been associated with the Wildlife Conservation Society-India and Centre for Wildlife Studies as a conservation partner. He has helped to establish local conservation advocacy and grassroots groups, including Nature Conservation Guild and WildCat-C.

His earlier awards include the WCS Service Award in 1998, the Karnataka Rajyotsava District Award in 2001, the Carl Zeiss Wildlife Conservation Award in 2002, and the Tiger Gold award in 2004 in recognition of his contribution to wildlife conservation.