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Tiger attack: 2 forest officials assaulted by villagers

Tiger attack: 2 forest officials assaulted by villagers

Wayanad: Two forest officials were assaulted Sunday by villagers at Pattavyal, where a tiger killed a woman estate worker, after they allegedly ridiculed them, police said.

The two have been hospitalised, they said.

The angry villagers also ransacked the forest office at Bidirkadu and damaged a jeep parked there, police said.

Meanwhile, the deceased woman's relatives and people of surrounding eight villages squatted on the road with her body, refused to send it for post-mortem or perform last rites, protesting government alleged 'inaction' in preventing entry of carnivores into hamlets, despite repeated pleas.

They demanded that authorities shoot dead the 'man eater' and sought Rs 10 lakh solatium for the next of kin of the 30-year-old woman and a government job to a family member, police said.

Forest department sources said steps were being taken to set up cages in the area to trap the elusive tiger, which reportedly has an injury on its back.

Police said adequate number of personnel have been posted in the area to prevent escalation of the situation.

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

Wildlife and police officials had said yesterday that Mahalakshmi, a tea estate worker at Pattavayal, about 90 km from here, was plucking tea leaves when the tiger pounced on her from a bush, caught her by the neck and dragged her for some distance. Other workers raised an alarm after which the carnivore left her and ran back into the nearby jungle.

The woman died on the spot due to the deep injuries.

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 the woman.

After his death, the Wildlife department had installed camera traps in the area but had failed to get any image of the big cat. Efforts to lure it into a trap and move it to the zoo also failed.

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