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Bengaluru: Days after the arrest of Bigg Boss Kannada contestant Varthur Santhosh for allegedly wearing a tiger claw pendant on the show, photos of Kannada film actors and politicians seemingly flaunting similar lockets have triggered an online buzz and a bunch of complaints.
According to forest department officials, complaints have been filed against Karnataka Rajya Sabha MP and actor Jaggesh, JD(S) leader and former chief minister Kumaraswamy’s son Nikhil Kumarawamy, actor Darshan, producer Rockline Venkatesh among others, seeking action against them for wearing such pendants in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.
Pro-Kannada outfit ‘Sarvasanghatanegala Okkuta’ demanded action against those owning tiger parts; several other organisations have also written to the forest department seeking action against Darshan and Jaggesh, officials in the know of the developments said.
Kumarawamy, who was found wearing the tiger claw pendant,said on Wednesday that he was not wearing an original tiger claw. His wedding pictures in which he is seen flaunting what looks like a tiger claw pendant was widely circulated on social media.
Responding to the allegations, Kumaraswamy said, “Photos of me wearing a tiger claw locket during my wedding are being circulated. It was gifted by a relative during my wedding and it is not an original tiger claw. I still have the locket with me. The forest department officials can check it.”
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Among the images shared on social media include that of astrologer Vinay Guruji, who is seen sitting on a tiger skin. However, the astrologer claimed that it was gifted to him by a person named Amarendra Kirti.
Reacting to the complaints, forest department officer Ravindra Kumar said that they would initiate action after investigating the allegations. “We have received complaints, but we will have to find out the reality of these images. Once we ascertain, we will take action according to the law,” he said.
Forest minister Eshwar Khandre on Wednesday said action will be taken against those who violate the law. “According to the Wildlife Act, wildlife skin, ivory, deer skin, and horns cannot be used or stored. We have received some complaints and the department will investigate and take action. There is no question of acting soft on anybody. All the complaints will be investigated and action will be taken,” Khandre said.
Big Boss contestant Santhosh was arrested on Sunday night by the forest department for wearing a tiger claw pendant during the reality show. The television personality was arrested from the sets of the after the crew brought him out of the Bigg Boss house. He was arrested on the basis of a suo-motu complaint filed by the forest department under the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972, which makes wearing or displaying any body part of animals a punishable offence.
Santhosh was produced before the Second Additional Chief Judicial Magistrate (ACJM) court at National Games Village in Bengaluru’s Koramangala on Monday. The magistrate sent him to judicial custody for 14 days.
Meanwhile, Santhosh’s relatives and supporters on Wednesday staged a protest near Varthur, demanding his release and Karnataka environment and forest minister Eshwar Khandre to intervene in the matter.
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