Video shows a group of men and boys mauling it with axes and sticks in the shallow waters of Sharda canal in Pratapgarh district

A video of a group of men and boys in Uttar Pradesh’s Pratapgarh district beating to death a Gangetic river dolphin surfaced on social media on Friday.

An endangered species, the Gangetic River Dolphin is recognised as the National Aquatic Animal.

In the video of the incident, which took place on December 31, 2020, in the shallow waters of the Sharda canal near a village, a group of men and boys can be seen mauling the dolphin with axes and sticks. The group first trapped the dolphin with a net, following which one of them slammed the hapless creature with an axe. Others joined in with axes and thick sticks and held down the dolphin by its fin, while some of the locals punctured the dolphin with sharp objects leading to blood oozing out of it.

The Pratapgarh police said they had arrested three persons and sent them to jail. Further legal action was being taken.

In the FIR lodged at the Nawabganj police station against unknown persons, it was mentioned that a post- mortem on the dolphin was conducted.

A punishable offence

Killing the Gangetic River Dolphin is a punishable offence under Section 9/51 of the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, the FIR said.

The motive behind the crime is not yet known.

On January 2, IFS officer Ramesh Pandey shared a link and photo of the incident and tweeted: “In an unfortunate incidents a Gangetic Dolphin got killed by locals in Pratapgarh district of UP. Locals thought the species a ‘Fish’ which may be dangerous for their lives. Wildlife awareness is much needed for conservation.”

In August, Prime Minister Narendra Modi announced Project Dolphin, for the conservation of the aquatic mammals.

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