“Police in India have arrested four men who allegedly gang-raped, killed, cooked and ate a monitor lizard in one of the country’s most protected forest reserves,” reports the Express-Tribune. The incident occurred on March 29 in the Sahyadri Tiger Reserve, in western India’s Maharashtra state.
“Forest officials arrested the men between April 1 and 5, and found photos and videos on their phones of them gang-raping a monitor lizard, and then killing and eating it.”
“I have never seen a crime like this before,” said forest official Vishal Mali. “The men are in their 20s and 30s, and they appear to have done it for fun. There was no religious or black magic agenda.”
The men were identified as Sandeep Pawar, Mangesh Kamtekar, Akshay Kamtekar and Ramesh Ghag, all locals. They are charged with violating India’s Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972. A court granted them bail last week.
Monitor lizards are an endangered species in India, and as such, are protected by law. Those who kill or take them may be punished with a seven-year jail term. “A report by wildlife advocacy groups recorded 82 cases of sexual abuse against animals in India between 2010 and 2020. This was out of a total of 500,000 cases of animal-related crimes that include torture and killings. Most recent cases of sexual abuse against animals include a man raping and killing a pregnant goat in southern India, and a 60-year-old man raping a female stray dog last year,” reports the Express-Tribune.
Forest officials are also considering charging the accused with violating a law that criminalises unnatural sex between humans and animals.
“Not only is this cruel, but there is a risk of zoonotic diseases from this kind of case. There are concerns of men carrying STDs and other infections from their act,” Mali noted.