Wildlife activist wonders if this was a warning message for her fight to get justice for Avni, the tigress who was hunted down and killed in 2018; police say probe is on
Dr Sarita Subramaniam, wildlife activist, and her husband P V Subramaniam
Eight “well-dressed” dacoits broke into a wildlife activist’s Karjat home in the wee hours of Wednesday, only to leave empty-handed. This has left Dr Sarita Subramaniam wondering whether “someone was trying to send her a message, and what if they are back?” Dr Sarita and her husband P V Subramaniam have filed a complaint at Karjat police station. The police visited her house, collected the footage of CCTV cameras and recorded her husband’s statement to register an FIR.
The dacoits broke into the house around 3 am-3.45 am, Dr Sarita told mid-day. “When we got up in the morning, we saw the steps near the devi statue were broken and the main gate was open. So we checked the CCTV camera footage and were shocked to see eight men armed with guns, swords, hammers, rods and chloroform spray inside our house. “They came through a small window in mummy’s bathroom. It had a wire mesh. The gang seemed seasoned players and they were well prepared, wearing masks, gloves and hoodies. They knew about the cameras and they were still not bothered. I don’t understand why they didn’t steal anything,” she added.
The armed dacoits were aware of the CCTV cameras, says the activist
The activist pointed out that the dacoits were quite well dressed. Dr Sarita was at the forefront of a campaign to save Avni (T1), the tigress suspected to have killed 13 humans in the state. However, the tigress was hunted down and killed in 2018. Thereafter, she moved the high court against the “illegal” killing of Avni. The matter is still being heard. Talking about the possible reasons behind the intrusion, she said, “May be someone is trying to send me a message because of all the work we did in Avni’s case. This needs to be proved thoroughly. Right now, we are scared and concerned about our security. What if they come back to harm my family?”
She said various incidents of robberies, including by armed robbers, have been reported in the areas over the past few months. “A friend here [Karjat] was burgled twice in an interval of 10 days. A few months ago, a man and his daughter were seriously injured during an armed robbery at their farm.” “Many senior citizens have been living in Karjat since the pandemic,” she said, adding, “We are quite hopeful the cops will try and catch this gang at the earliest.”
“We have taken a serious cognisance of the matter and the case of attempt to commit robbery or dacoity with deadly weapon has been registered under Section 398 of the IPC. Crime Branch officers are also engaged in the matter,” Said Somnath Gharge, Superintendent of Police, Raigad district. “We are also worried about the incident; the way they came fully prepared, armed with weapons, but didn’t do anything. We are trying to understand what their motive was or what message they were trying to convey, knowing the fact that they are being recorded on the CCTV cameras,” he added.