10 May, 2009 would always be remembered as a “Red letter day” in the history of protection of Asiatic Lions in India. Thanks to the joint efforts of Forest Department of Madhya Pradesh and Wildlife Protection Society Of India (WPSI), Mintar Singh, one of the key accused of the 2007's poaching case of Asiatic Lions was arrested on 10th May, 2009.
For last two years, massive search operations were carried on by the Forest officials of Madhya Pradesh in both Madhya Pradesh and Gujarat to get hold of Mintar Singh, a resident of Shahmagar near Panna in Madhya Pradesh. He was one of the members of the high profile poaching case of Asiatic Lions of 2007. Other 36 members of this case have already been convicted in Gujarat under the provisions of both the Indian Penal Code (IPC) and the Wildlife (Protection) Act, 1972.
The Gujarat Government has assigned two to three years of imprisonment and has ordered to pay a fine of Rs 2,000 to Rs 10,000. They all are arrested from Una in Junahgarh district near Bhavnagar railway station.
These poachers has used spring iron traps to kill Tigers and poisonous spears to slaughter the Lions. It is believed that this is the first time when Asiatic Lions are targeted by the professional poachers in the Gir Sanctuary, famous as the abode of the Asiatic lions.
Mr A.K. Baroniya, the Divisional Forest Officer of Katni, Madhya Pradesh has led the team along with the WPSI personnel and caught Mintar Singh from the border of Katni and Panna district of Madhya Pradesh. Madhya Pradesh's forest department has handed him to the Gujarat CID, so that Singh can be undergo prosecution under Gujarat Government.
Government is hoping that the arrest of Mintar Singh, would surely reveal some more significant information about the killing of Asiatic Lions, one of the most endangered mammals on this planet.