- Big cat pounces on granddad-grandson duo inside coffee estate at Bellur-Hysodlur
- Villagers resort to road blocks in protest; Tahsildar clamps Section 144
Ponnampet: The tiger on the prowl in parts of South Kodagu has taken its third victim this morning. The feline mauled eight-year-old Rangaswamy at Bellur-Hysodlur village, the epicentre of the menace. On Feb. 20 and 21, the tiger had killed 18-year-old Ayyappa and 60-year-old Chinni.
Today’s attack took place early in the morning when Rangaswamy and his grandfather 52-year-old Kencha were walking inside a coffee estate. Reports from the attack scene say that the tiger suddenly pounced on Rangaswamy and hit the boy’s face with its paw. Rangaswamy collapsed and died within moments.
Seeing the menacing tiger, Kencha tried to shoo away the animal but the big cat attacked him too. Hearing Kencha screaming for help, other labourers rushed to the spot. They shifted Kencha to Gonikoppal Primary Health Centre and from there he has been shifted to Mysuru for better treatment.
The tiger has taken the lives of three human beings and 12 cattle heads in 17 days in and around Bellur, T. Shettigeri, Thavalageri, Srimangala, Mathoor, Beeruga, Badagarakeri and surrounding areas. The latest attack occurred at a place that is a few furlongs from the camps set up by the Forest Department to capture the big cat. Over 150 personnel, 30 officers and sharp-shooters are involved in the operation.
Today in the wee hours — about 2.30 am — the tiger attacked a cow owned by Kalimada Sunitha. The tiger entered the cow shed and made the killing. The feline was unable to carry away the carcass as the cow shed had walls and the gate was closed.
Later, the tiger attacked the cow owned by Kalimada Naveen a few metres away from Sunitha’s house. Fortunately, Naveen woke up to the sound and the tiger released the cow from its grip hearing shouts from the family.
Enraged by the tiger killing, hundreds of villagers mobbed the Forest Department officers today and sought an explanation from them as to why they could not capture or shoot the tiger even after 17 days of operation.
They alleged that the Department’s operation was just an eye-wash as people and cattle heads continue to fall prey to the big cat despite tall claims by the Department. The Department has brought tamed elephants just to show off while nothing is being done to capture or kill the big cat.
The villagers resorted to road blocks and prevented the vehicles of the Forest Department and Police to enter Bellur. They demanded the presence of Kodagu MLAs and MP at the spot and alleged that despite the tiger menace since the last two months, no elected representative or the Forest Minister has bothered to visit the place.
Sensing the mood of the irate villagers, Virajpet Tahsildar has imposed Section 144 in the entire Hudikeri hobli on Mar. 8 and Mar. 9. This is to prevent gathering of more than five persons at a particular place. Villagers said that they will not bow to the pressure tactics by the authorities and resorted to road blocks.