Sundeep Bhutoria

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Tuesday, May 12, 2015

T24 grabs headlines; spurs debate

May 12, 2015: Tiger T24 aka Ustaad is making headlines from last week eversince it killed a forest guard Rampal Saini at Ranthambore National Park and sparking off a debate to shift the tiger to a zoo.
This forest-to-zoo debate has angered many tiger and wildlife experts who feel that the tiger should be left alone in its forest habitat and that attacks were result of growing human interference. However, when I spoke to one of the leading tiger experts of the country she said that she feels that it is dangerous to have a man-eater tiger on the loose in the forest and it should be shifted to a zoo. If not caged, there is also the danger of losing loyalty of the forest guards, she said.
But other argue that a tiger killed a guard and went away and there are no evidence of eating the victim. So how can the tiger be branded as a “man-eater”. They want an independent inquiry as they suspect that it is the hotel lobby which is influencing the decision of the forest department. They fear that the news would scare away tourists and affect their business.
There is another controversy and debates as to who killed Rampal, becase T24's son Sultan, dwelling in the same area, was spotted not far from the scene of attack. Sultan is also very fearless by nature and also very aggressive like T24.
Noor and Sultan at Ranthambore National Park
In fact, I had spotted Sultan in the winter of 2012 when he was a cub and was with his mother Noor. Even as a cub, he would growl and run towards our jeep.
If the forest department is to be believed, this is the fourth killing of a man by T24. 
T24 lazing on the track in 2012
I had also spotted T24 in 2012 in the middle of a track which stopped jeeps on both sides of the road. 
T24 in 2013
Again in the winter of 2013, I saw T24 when he had killed two huge neel gais and we clicked pictures of him feasting on his kill.
According to media reports, petrified villagers have called upon authorities to shift T24 to a zoo arguing that this tiger has a tack record of attacking humans having killed three people so far. The proposal is pending chief minister's approval I am told.
My weekend was quite busy, especially on Friday. In the morning I went to attend the funeral of Suresh Neotia, a man who was an institution by himself.
With Suhel Seth at the 21st Author's Afternoon
At 4 pm there was An Author’s Afternoon with Suhel Seth at Taj Bengal which was organized after a gap of more than three months. 
The last Author’s Afternoon was on January 13 with Wendell Rodricks. 
With K Mohanchandran and H.E., Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi
On Thursday, the Governor of West Bengal, Shri Keshari Nath Tripathi, formally unveiled the Book Rack at the Taj Bengal.
The Taj Group of Hotels have been kind enough to provide the space in Chambers and the Tea Lounge at the lobby for the autographed books of the twenty authors featured in the Author’s Afternoon till now. 
In front of the Author's Afternoon Book Rack at Taj Chambers
Suhel Seth was the twenty first guest for the event held on Friday, May 8.
In the evening, after the Author’s Afternoon event, there was a book release of Suhel Seth in which, again, Prabha Khaitan Foundation was associated with the Taj Bengal
With Suhel Seth, Sanjeev and Priti Goenka
and Sunita Kumar
The book was released by Sanjeev Goenka and followed by a session of conversation with Suhel Seth in which he mentioned how Sanjeev Goenka had dared to take on the state's power utility, CESC, against the wishes of his father and very successfully transformed this power distribution company into a power generating company.
With Konkona Sen
My Friday evening was not yet over as I hosted a dinner from 10:30 pm onwards for the cast and crew of Kadambari at the Taj Bengal.
I am staying put in Kolkata for a long time without travelling for almost a week, although there is an emergency meeting
With Sujoy Ghosh, Aparna Sen, Kalyan Sen and Konkona Sen
of the Members
of the Executive Commitee (ExCo) of the Indian Federation of the United Nations Association (IFUNA) in Delhi today evening.
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