Vadodara forest department seized star back turtles from a historical Vitthalesh temple situated in Mandvi area of the city.
The department however keep mum about the action but the temple authorities said that they are here from years and kept as one of the favourite of lord Shiva.
One cannot keep the turtles as it comes under endangered species and according to wildlife protection act it’s prohibited to kept turtles.
The forest department kept the turtles at their office but keep themselves mum about the action.
The historical Vitthalesh temple near Mandvi is managed by Devasthan trust and the Maharaja of Vadodara Samarjitsinh Gaekwad is the trustee of the temple. Every year a big procession of lord Vitthal is taken out in the city and people joined with great enthusiasm. According to the priest of the temple the turtles are here from years and people worship them.
“As every God has his or her ‘Vahan’ the turtle and Nandi is considered to be the Vahan of lord Shiva and here the turtles are worshipped by the people visiting to the temple. The turtles are kept at natural environment without hurting them and roaming free inside the garden. The forest department on Sunday came and took away the turtles with them which hurt the sentiments of the people.
We know that government makes the rule for not keeping the turtles at home or anywhere but we request them to atleast spare the temples as the animals kept inside the temple are worshipped by the people,” said Hariom Vyas priest of the temple.