VHP Moves Calcutta HC Against Naming of Lion & Lioness as ‘Akbar’ & ‘Sita’


The Vishva Hindu Parishad (VHP) has filed a writ petition in the Jalpaiguri circuit bench of the Calcutta High Court against the naming of a lion and lioness as ‘Akbar’ and ‘Sita’. These animals were transferred to Bengal Safari Park, Salugara, from Sepahijala Zoological Park, Tripura.

It’s worth noting that the exchange of animals between zoological parks aims to establish self-sustaining populations of endangered species and provide compatible groups of animals for breeding.

However, this particular transfer has sparked controversy since the names were made public.

The VHP, in their plea, asserted that naming an animal after a religious deity is ‘sacrilegious’ and ‘blasphemous,’ which violates the religious beliefs of Hindus. The plea urged the court for renaming the animals as soon as possible.

It further argued that the authorities’ actions are ‘arbitrary’, ‘unreasonable’, and ‘offensive to Hindu sentiments’, thereby infringing upon their constitutional rights. Therefore, the petitioners demand strict action against all those involved in such naming of the species.

“Viswa Hindu Parishad, Uttar BangaPrant, West Bengal learned from news media that a lion (male local id: IL 26) and a lioness (female local id: IL 25) arrived at Bengal Safari Park, Salugara, from Sepahijala Zoological Park, Tripura, as part of this program. The lioness, originally identified as IL 25, was named “Sita,” which deeply offended Hindu sentiments, as Sita is a sacred deity to Hindus worldwide,” the petitioners stated.

The VHP also mentioned that they had already submitted a request to the Director of North Bengal Wild Animals Park to rename the lioness, but their request was ignored.

The Court will take up the matter for a hearing on 20th February 2024.

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About the Author: Nunnem Gangte