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July 28, 2000
21 Nandankanan employees suspended
Bhibuti Mishra in Bhubaneshwar
The Orissa government today suspended 21 employees of the Nandankanan zoo in connection with the beheading of a rare crocodile on Thursday.
The 21 suspended employees include two foresters, four forest guards and 15 other employees.
Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, who visited the zoo with chief conservator of forest S K Patnaik today, took a serious view of the security lapse and directed Superintendent of Police, Khurda district Arun Sarangi to form a special task force to probe the lapse and tighten security further. P>Fisteen trained forest guards have been absorbed in place of the suspended employees and the government has sounded a warning that the guilty would be severely dealt with.
The authorities, who are spreading the sabotage theory, are still clueless as to why the crocodile was slaughtered.
Wildlife enthusiasts are up in arms over the incident. Biswajit Mohanty, secretary of the Wildlife Society of Orissa, said "This is scandalous. How can anyone enter the enclosure and butcher the crocodile while guards are on duty. If this can happen anything can happen. The government should punish the guilty severely. The tiger deaths have emboldened miscreants and the zoo needs to regain its lost stature."
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