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Vikash Sharma

Days after the high-drama surrounding ‘Coco’ played out before the people of the State which ended with the Forest department confiscating the Alexandrine pet Parakeet, several educationists have appealed the State Chief Minister to return the parrot to its foster mother- Professor Sasmita Behera.

In a letter to Chief Minister Naveen Patnaik, six educationists, including the former Principal of Choudwar College, Tusharkant Pattnaik, have sought the former's intervention in rehabilitating ‘Coco’ with its pet parents in Cuttack.

It is pertinent to mention here that ‘Coco’ was raised by Professor Sasmita Behera since the past one year. Coco hit headlines after Sasmita announced a cash reward of Rs 5,000 after it went missing. Subsequently, Coco was found by a Bhubaneswar resident almost 12 days after it went missing.

Within hours after Coco was reunited with its pet parents, a team of Forest officials reached Sasmita’s house in Madhusudan Nagar in Tulasipur and confiscated the parrot.

Though keeping parrots is not permitted under the law, many people have expressed dissatisfaction over the turn of events leading to the separation.

In a letter to the CM, the educationists said, “The taking away of the pet parrot unceremoniously from its foster mother and other family members is not appreciated by the people of Odisha. This unthinking action of the officials of the forest department might hasten Coco’s early demise.”

According to Pattnaik, Coco’s case is not at all a legal issue. Rather, it is a deep human and sentimental issue. The officials cannot hide behind the façade of the law.

“Everyday we come across the news on smuggling of elephant tusk, live pangolin and tiger skin. The felling of timber goes on unabated. Can the Forest and Environment Department shy away from its responsibilities? Instead of tackling squarely such crisis, why the officials of the department zero in on cases like Coco?,” the letter read.

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