Delhi cops buried a dead peacock with tricolor wrapped around it. [representational image]Reuters

The Delhi police Friday, May 4, wrapped the Indian national flag around a dead peacock before burying it inside a wooden box. Calling it a 'protocol', the Delhi police provided the dead bird a funeral, which is only reserved for martyred army personnel and national leaders.

According to the police, it followed the protocol as peacock is a national bird. "We gave it a full honor and buried it with a tricolor as it is our national bird. This is the protocol and we will follow it in the future if another such peacock comes in our custody," an officer of the Tilak Marg police station was quoted as saying by Times of India.

The incident came to light when the Delhi police received a call about an injured peacock outside the Delhi high court. The bird was found lying outside gate number 5 and was soon rushed to the Jain Bird Hospital in Chandni Chowk. The doctors, however, pronounced the peacock brought dead.

The police later took the bird to a hospital in South Delhi's Jaunapur for post-mortem. Following this, the cops conducted the burial with tricolor in the presence of a forest official.

"We are yet to know the cause of the death as the postmortem report will come next week, but it is suspected that the bird may have got injured after falling from a tree," the police officer was quoted as saying by TOI.

The burial, however, did not go down well with the wildlife activists who claimed that it was a violation of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972. The peacock, which is considered to be a schedule-1 bird, is a state property and hence the burial should be done only by the state forest department, the daily reported.

While addressing a similar incident from April 16 when a dead peacock was reported to the police station in Janakpuri, animal activist Gauri Maulekhi had written to the forest department.

"This is in violation of the Wildlife Protection Act as no NGO or police even can get a postmortem conducted or bury the animal. It needs to be handed over to forest department who are required to either cremate or bury the animal themselves to ensure no parts are smuggled," TOI quoted Maulekhi as saying.