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Union minister Athawale to adopt leopard

Union minister Ramdas Athawale is adopting a leopard living in the Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).

The Republican Party of India (A) chief will formally adopt a wild cat housed inside the park tomorrow, a release issued by his party said here.

The Maharashtra forest department-run park, spread over 103 sq km and wedged between the suburbs of Mumbai and Thane, started an adoption scheme a few years ago due to rising maintenance cost of animals.

By adopting the leopard, Athawale will bear all the expenses incurred on its upkeep in the park.

The 57-year-old MP was once associated with the Dalit Panther movement, founded by late activist and poet Namdev Dhasal. The movement against caste discrimination, started in early 1970s, aggressively championed the cause of social justice and equality.

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