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Uproar in Nilgiris with tiger on prowl Uproar in Nilgiris with tiger on prowl

Feb-16-2015 | 0 Comments


COIMBATORE: Angry villagers protesting against recent tiger attacks in Nilgiris forest areas ransacked six vehicles belonging to the forest department, pelting stones and setting fire to them. At least, seven police personnel including three women were attacked by a mob of over thousand people on Sunday.

On Saturday, Mahalakshmi, a tea estate worker at Pattavayal in Gudalur division, was plucking tea leaves when a tiger pounced on her from a bush, caught her by the neck and dragged her for some distance. The woman died on the spot due to deep injuries. Kaivattam villagers near Pattavayal squatted on the road carrying the body of Mahalakshmi. But officials persuaded them to send the body for postmortem.

The villagers were demanding 10 lakh as compensation to the victim's family and a job for one of the family members. They also wanted officials to act quickly and kill the big cat.

Nilgiris collector, P Sankar, said 3 lakh was handed over to the victim's family as compensation from the government. "We have told them that the district administration would recommend to the government that their demands be accepted." After postmortem, the body was handed over to the victim's family.

On Sunday, for the second day, officials of the Gudalur division of forests along with Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) were engaged in monitoring the movement of the tiger on the prowl. "About five cages have been erected in and around the spot where the tiger was sighted yesterday", said a senior forest official of MTR. Beef was used as bait. He added, "Over 80 forest staff members are involved in the operation".

While 30 staff members from MTR were involved, about 50 forest staff from Gudalur division took part in the operation. However, the day-long operation did not yield any result in spotting the animal. "We will be continuing our operation tomorrow also", said the official.

The district administration has declared Monday as a holiday for five schools located in Bitherkadu area in view of the ongoing operation. "We have also instructed the people of about six hamlets in that area not to venture out for farming and in the night," said Sankar. Police personnel will be deployed to monitor the villagers, he added.

Shopkeepers in surrounding villages like Nilakottai, Pattavayal and Bidirgadu downed their shutters in protest against the government's alleged inaction and also to condole the death of the woman.

A few days back, a farmer was mauled to death by a tiger at nearby Noolpuzha on the Kerala side. Wildlife guards believe the same tiger had killed Mahalakshmi.

After his death, the wildlife department had installed camera traps in the area but had failed to get any image of the big cat.

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