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Cat or leopard? Delhi police reveal mystery over animal at Modi oath taking

June 11, 2024 00:59 IST

Bharatiya Janata Party MP Durga Das Uikey's oath-taking ceremony made a splash on Monday for the unlikeliest of reasons -- a video of a shadowy animal sauntering in the Rashtrapati Bhavan corridor that some wagered was a big cat, maybe even a leopard.

IMAGE: BJP MP Durga Das Uikey (second from right) after taking oath as Union minister, as President Droupadi Murmu (left) looks on, in New Delhi, June 9, 2024. The 'animal' can also be seen in picture (top right). Photograph: Courtesy Durga Das Uikey on X

The Delhi police, however, said in a statement on 'X' that the animal seen in the video is a 'common house cat'.


As speculation swirled and the video of Uikey signing the register and walking towards President Droupadi Murmu with the mysterious four-legged animal in the background was circulated endlessly, a Delhi police official said there are only dogs and 'domestic' cats inside the presidential palace.

There are no prior reports of any leopard seen in the presidential estate, a forest department official added in response to social media conjecture that the animal must be a leopard.

"Just came across this viral video from the oath ceremony of @narendramodi ji held at @rashtrapatibhvn. As per the video, a leopard was seen roaming casually. Very risky," a social media user said on 'X'.

Responding to the speculation, the police official said, "We checked with Rashtrapati Bhavan security whether the animal was a leopard after the video surfaced on social media. They said there was no leopard inside. There are only dogs and cats inside the President House."

That the swearing-in ceremony of the Narendra Modi government took place before 8,000 guests in the forecourt of a brightly lit Rashtrapati Bhavan excited more curiosity about the animal casually walking past in the columned corridor that formed the backdrop.

The clip also elicited a few funny reactions on 'X'.

A user posted, "Free Safari Experience for Guests at Oath Ceremony at Rashtrapati Bhawan."

Seeking to rein in the speculations, the Delhi Police posted, "Some media channels and social media handles are showing an animal image captured during the live telecast of oath taking ceremony held at the Rashtrapati Bhavan yesterday, claiming it to be a wild animal."

"These facts are not true, the animal captured on camera is a common house cat. Please don't adhere to such frivolous rumours," it said.

The Delhi police was also deployed for security at the event.

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