In a bizarre incident, four people have been arrested for raping a Bengal monitor lizard in the Sahydari Tiger Reserve near Gothane village in Maharashthra. According to the reports, the four accused, identified as hunters, entered the core zone of Sahydari Tiger Reserve in the Gabha area at Gothane and raped a Bengal monitor lizard.
The three accused have been identified as Sandeep Tukaram Pawar, Mangesh Kamtekar, Akshay Kamtekar, Ramesh Tukaram Ghag.
The Maharashtra Forest Department had initially caught the accused on the charges of hunting, as they were caught in CCTV roaming around in the forest. As the officials checked the mobile phone of the accused, they came across the video of raping the Bengal monitor lizard. As per the officials, the accused raped not only the four and a half feet long Bengal monitor lizard but also recorded the gang-raping act.
The officials also found photos of rabbits, porcupines, and deer on their mobile phones.
The forest officials posted at Sangli forest reserve had arrested the accused with the help of CCTV footage in which they can be seen wandering inside the forest. When the CCTV showed them inside the forest, the forest guards arrived at the spot in Gabha area at Gothane , but managed to catch only one of them, while the rest had fled. The found the video of the rape of the Bengal monitor lizard in the phone recovered from the nabbed person.
The act was recorded using the same phone, which showed one of the four accused raping the reptile. Following the probe, the other three accused were nabbed later from Hativ village in Ratnagiri district. The forest officials also recovered two pistols and two motorcycles from them. According to the officials, the accused had come from Konkan to Kolhapur’s Chandoli village for hunting.
The officials have now decided to take up the matter with law experts to discuss the relevant charges to be filed against them for the alleges rape of an wile animal. According to the officials, the accused will be produced in court, and appropriate legal action will be taken against them.
The Bengal monitor lizard is a reserved species under the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The accused would be charged with seven years of imprisonment if found guilty.