Zoo staff said that the children tried entering from the exit gate, prompting them to charge at them.

Zookeepers chase beat kids with sticks at Hyderabad zoo on Childrens DayAll photos: Suresh Kumar
news Violence Thursday, November 16, 2017 - 16:21

Young boys can be seen fleeing from the khaki-clad men charging at them with sticks, some even fallen to the ground, as a crowd of many students look on from beyond a barricade. The fear is writ large on the faces of the boys’ as they try to escape.

The images were taken by Suresh Kumar, a photojournalist from Sakshi at Hyderabad’s Nehru Zoological Park (NZP) on Children’s Day.

The pictures have triggered outrage on social media, with one user even tagging the city police so that they can take action.

Speaking to TNM, Suresh said that the incident took place at around 11:30 am, and lasted for a few minutes. “I was in the zoo to capture some interesting photos since it was Children’s Day. But what I witnessed was madness,” he said.

Narrating the incident, Suresh added that there was a huge crowd at the zoo, due to which there were long queues. “In a bid to ease the crowd, the staff provided entry from the exit gate too. While I was taking pictures of the crowd, I suddenly saw the staff charging at the children and heard children shouting. I took photos of the chaos. Children were being chased away, and a few fell too,” he said.

Shivani Dogra, the curator of the zoo initially said that she was not aware of the incident. However, after seeing the pictures, she said that she deeply regretted the incident.

“The photos are outrageous. We will take stern action against the staff responsible. If someone was injured we apologize,” she said.

“After summoning the staff to enquire about the incident, they told me that a few children tried to barge into the zoo from the exit gate. There was a huge crowd that day. My staff told me that the very few teachers came along with the school children, which prompted the children to indulge in the mischief, because of which the staff would have tried to stop them,” Shivani said.

She further expressed anguish, and said that she will see to it that such an incident does not happen again.

Zoo officials say that they saw nearly 24,000 visitors that day, and even the police had to be called in to control the crowd.

NZP spokesperson Hanifullah clarified that they did not open the exit gate to ease the crowd.

“Few children might have tried entering from the exit gate without tickets, forcing the staff to run behind the children. However, we regret the incident,” he said.

 

 

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