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Bird flu: Action against boatman after picture of Shikhar Dhawan feeding birds in Varanasi goes viral

11:27 AM Jan 25, 2021 | FPJ Web Desk

Varanasi: Indian cricketer Shikhar Dhawan has landed a boatman in trouble after he posted a picture of himself, feeding birds during a boat ride in Varanasi in contravention to the guidelines on bird flu.

Dhawan had shared a picture on Instagram in which the player can be seen feeding birds during a boat ride in Varanasi. "Happiness is feeding birds," Dhawan captioned the image on Instagram last week.

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The cricketer, however, will not be subject to any action and a challan has instead been issued to the boatman.

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According to reports, the Varanasi Police has issued a challan against boatman Pradeep Shani who has been barred from taking his boat to the river for three days.

The Varanasi district administration had said that action will only be taken against the boatmen, and not the tourists.

Kaushal Raj Sharma, District Magistrate, Varanasi, had said that action will be taken against boatmen who did not follow the administration's guidelines and allowed tourists on their boats to feed the birds amid the bird flu.

"There was some information that some boatmen are not adhering to the administration's instructions and the tourists on their boats are feeding the birds. So, these boatmen are being identified and tourists generally are not aware of such things," Sharma told ANI.

"However, it was made clear by the police and the administration to the boatmen that they should not allow the tourists on their boat to feed the birds. Whosoever flouted these rules will be served notice and they will be asked as to why their license should not be canceled... No action will be taken against the tourists," he added.

So far, bird flu or avian influenza outbreak has been confirmed in crow and wild/migratory birds in 12 states. The flu is confirmed to have spread in poultry birds in nine states -- Kerala, Haryana, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra, Chhattisgarh, Uttarakhand, Gujarat, Uttar Pradesh and Punjab.

Bird flu in India is usually spread by migratory birds coming into the country during winters - between September and March.

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