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Tiger scare haunts Pilibhit

Sunday Guardian Live
12 Aug 2017

Panic has struck Pilibhit in Uttar Pradesh after a tiger killed three farmers in the past three days in the area.

A 28-year-old man was mauled to death by the tiger at Adauli village in Amaria block on Monday, while another man was killed at Sarainda Patti village under Amaria police station circle on Tuesday, triggering protests by villagers. The third victim, again a farmer, was mauled to death on Thursday. Both the villages are located near the Pilibhit Tiger Reserve.

Union minister Maneka Gandhi, who represents the Pilibhit Lok Sabha constituency, has written a letter to UP Chief Minister Yogi Adityanath, seeking prompt action in the matter and ensuring security to the villagers in the affected area.

Around 6,000 villagers gathered at Hariharpur Hassan village, which is near Adauli, to protest against the killings by the tiger. They allegedly stopped a forest department team passing by and held it hostage, assaulting its members on Thursday. Divisional director of social forestry, Adarsh Kumar said that the irate mob also overturned a vehicle of the social forestry department and damaged it.

The forest officials called for two elephants to launch a combing operation. But the search proved futile as the tiger was not found. Conservator of forest, Bareilly circle, V.K. Singh accepted that the situation was alarming with a man-eater tiger prowling about on the one hand, and on the other, irate villagers threatening forest officials and members of the field force.

The busy National Highway 74 passes between the two villages and it is not known how the man-eater managed to cross it. Incidentally, no big cats have ever been sighted in the area before these incidents.

According to reports, Shamsul Rahman, a small farmer of Sarainda Patti village, had gone to tend to his paddy fields on Tuesday morning. When he did not come home, his cousin, Navi Ahmad, went to look for him.

Navi said, “As I reached Rehman’s field in the evening, I saw a lot of blood and a trail of blood leading from his paddy field to the adjacent sugarcane field. Some villagers and I followed it into the sugarcane field. There we saw a tiger eating Rehman’s body. We raised a hue and cry, forcing the big cat to leave the body.”