Concrete jungle release of birds ends in chaos

Her love for birds landed Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narasimha’s wife Padmini Reddy in a bit of trouble on Sunday morning when officials of the Anti-Poaching Squad stopped her from releasing captive birds at KBR Park.

The deputy CM’s wife is the founder of the recentlystarted NGO “She is All” (SIA) which works towards the upliftment of women and for conservation of

birds. The organisation also regularly buys captive birds and releases them in the wild. However on Sunday morning Padmini and a few SIA volunteers were not allowed inside the KBR Park when they came at around 7.30 as the foresters said that the caged birds, if released inside the National Park, might spread infections to other birds and animals that could be devastating.

As possessing protected animals or birds is not permitted under the Wild Life Protection Act, the officials seized the birds and shifted them to the zoo park.

The fracas between Deputy Chief Minister Damodar Raja Narasimha’s wife Padmini Reddy and officials of the Anti-Poaching Squad was finally resolved when the police intervened and a bird was symbolically released outside KBR Park.

Ms Padmini Reddy said, “I am a bird lover and believe in giving them freedom. The forest officials said the birds could not be released within five kilometres. So we handed them over. We held a bird walk at KBR Park with school kids.

There is nothing more to it.” A forest official said, “Actually a case can be booked for possessing protected birds. Section 2 of the Wild Life Protection Act defines ‘Hunting’, which includes possession. But higher officials told us not to proceed in this case.

Cops who had no business interfered.” Deputy forest range officer Khader Vali of the Anti-Poaching Squad, said, “SIA activists claimed that they bought birds from Murgi Chowk in the old city.

Actually, the caged birds have to be kept under observation for one week before being released. The release has to be done only when they are fit.

That too, with the permission of the Chief Wild Life Warden.” Mr Vali further said, “It’s our duty to rescue the birds. If any NGO has information, they can alert us and we will take action. It’s very difficult to raid Murgi Chowk, as the bird sellers have the support of local goons.

We are unarmed. Despite that, we went there and rescued 200 birds recently.” Forest officials seized wild or rock pigeons from SIA and shifted them to the zoo. They also checked the vehicles of the activists including Ms Padmini Reddy’s.

“There was no fight or serious confrontation. Ms Padmini Reddy cooperated with us,” said Mr Vali, adding, “We will release these birds in the Narsapur forest or the Toopran area, based on the directions of Chief Wild Life Warden.

We are not against any bird walks.” Forest officials said they have written to the city police to provide protection to them for carrying out raids, but they haven’t received a reply.

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