(IANS) Cricketer Ravindra Jadeja has courted controversy after pictures of him posing in front of Asiatic Lions in the Gir National Sanctuary went viral on social media. The Gujarat Forest Department has ordered a probe.
Several photographs of the ace cricketer, along with his wife Riva and others, posing with a pride of lions in the background has been doing the rounds on social media for the last two days.
The pictures surfaced soon after forest officials issued an advisory for tourists and locals not to take any selfies with lions, to discourage them from getting too close to the wild animals and putting their lives at risk.
A public interest litigation was also filed in Gujarat High Court on Friday seeking a probe into Jadeja’s photographs from Gir forest.
The leg-spinner, a native of Saurashtra region where the Gir sanctuary is located, was on a two-day visit to Sasan Gir in Junagadh district and had been on a lion safari with his wife. Jadeja was married on April 17 this year.
He and his wife alighted from the vehicle and clicked photographs with a pride of lions in the backdrop. Pictures of him taking selfies with fans and some forest guards too have surfaced.
“This is a protected forest and tourists are not allowed to get down from their vehicles. We have received information that some pictures of the cricketer having got down from the vehicle and taken selfies with lions have been circulating on social media,” Aniruddh Pratap Singh, Chief Conservator of Forests (CCF) of Junagadh wildlife circle, told reporters.
“Even some forest guards are seen with him in the photographs. Therefore, we have ordered the superintendent of Gir National Park to conduct an inquiry and file a report,” Singh added.
Gir Park has been shut down for tourists from June 15 to October 15 for its annual monsoon break.
This is the second incident within three months where the cricketer has been in the news for incidents outside the cricketing field. A relative of his was earlier booked for allegedly firing in the air during the wedding celebrations of Jadeja at a hotel in Rajkot.