Bharatiya Janata Party legislator Bhawani Singh Rajawat has suggested that crocodiles and gharials in the Chambal river in Kota, Rajasthan, be culled to prevent attacks on locals. According to the Ladpura MLA, there are three thousand crocodiles in the Chambal’s tributary Chandola river, and the people living in villages close to the river are at constant risk . He said several villagers have been injured in crocodile attacks, besides losing their livestock to the animals.
The river is the only water body in central India that has a population of dolphins, crocodiles and gharials. All three animals are protected under the Wild Life Protection Act 1972, and killing them attracts a jail term of up to seven years and a fine of Rs 5 lakh. However, Rajawat said the animals had grown in huge numbers and culling was the only option to contain them.
People for Animals, an organisation under Union minister Maneka Gandhi, said the legislator’s statement was “foolish and highly deplorable”. Rajasthan Chief wild life Warden Dr GB Reddy said that if people get inspired by his statement and kill the protected animals, Rajawat should be held responsible. He contended that the human-animal conflict needs to be addressed by looking at the causes behind the such trends. Industrialisation and the pollution it causes have caused the animals' prey base to shrink, he said.