12 climb Tiruvannamalai hill, let off with warning

Even as there is a ban on entry on Annamalai hills, a 12-member tourist group from Lithuania trespassed into the prohibited areas on Thursday.
12 climb  Tiruvannamalai hill, let off with warning
The 12 trekkers from Lithuania at the Tiruvannamalai DFO’s office

Tiruvannamalai

Forest department personnel, who got information about the tourists’ visit, rushed to the spot and detained all the 12 Lithuanian nationals for violating the ban. However, all of them were let off after inquiry, police said. 
The group, which had come to India on a pilgrimage, had trekked the hills via Skandashramam above Ramanashramam, police said.
Forest department officials said the group from Lithuania, Northeastern Europe started their trek from the rear entrance of Ramana Ashram around 4 am. On information, forest department officials stopped and brought them to the forest office. During inquiry, officials asked them why they went to the prohibited areas though there were caution boards clearly mentioning the restriction at many points. To this, the trekkers replied that they missed the boards as the lights on the head gears were focused on the ground. Though officials were not fully convinced with the reply, they let the group off with a warning.
The ban was imposed after two persons - one Indian and a foreigner - who trekked the hills lost their way, a few months ago. 
On Karthigai Deepam day also only a limited number of people will be permitted to go to the hill top. 
The Forest Department had also erected warning boards at 13 locations to stop people from entering the hills. 
It may also be pointed out that as many as 22 people on a trekking expedition, which visited some of the banned areas in Western Ghats, were killed in a forest fire on Kurangani hills in Theni in March last.

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