Lucknow, September 11: In a bizarre incident, a crocodile was held hostage by locals in an Uttar Pradesh village. They sought a ransom from the forest department to release the big reptile. After hectic negotiations followed by a threat of legal action, the villagers finally relented and allowed the forest reserve officials to rescue the crocodile. Crocodile 'Suicide' in Gujarat? Video of 10-Ft-Long Reptile Jumping in Ishwar Lake in Kutch is Going Viral on Social Media.

The incident was reported in Midiana village, located 50 km away from Lakhimpur Kheri. The area lies close to the Dudhwa Tiger Reserve. On Tuesday, a crocodile was flown by the gushing river and ended up in a pond located inside the village.

The forest department officials were informed, but since it was dark when they reached the location, the rescue mission was aborted. The villagers, fearing a risk to their children due to the presence of crocodile, decided to capture it themselves.

A total of 15 village youths cleared water hyacinths and rescue the crocodile from the pond. They tied up the crocodile and decided to release to the forest department only on a ransom of Rs 50,000.

When the forest reserve officials arrived the next morning, the villagers said they are entitled to compensation as they risked their lives to rescue the reptile. Despite being told by officials that there is no such provision in the law, the locals did not relent.

It was only after the local Station House Officer (SHO) was intimated, a team of police personnel arrived at the site. The villagers were warned of penal action if they continue to keep the crocodile, an animal listed in the wildlife protection law, as hostage.

The locals decided to relent on being threatened with legal action. The crocodile was taken by the forest department officials, who decided to release it in the Ghagra river which falls under the forest reserve. "The incident has been recorded but no action has been taken against any villager at the request of their village head," TOI reported Anil Patel, deputy director of the reserve’s buffer areas, as saying.

(The above story first appeared on LatestLY on Sep 11, 2020 03:37 PM IST. For more news and updates on politics, world, sports, entertainment and lifestyle, log on to our website