Leopard scare grips B’luru outskirts; Shoot-at-sight orders in T Narsipur

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Forest Department staff looking for signs of leopard movement in Kodipalya area on Friday.

BENGALURU: With the leopard scare gripping localities around Turahalli forest on the outskirts of the city, the Forest Department has placed four traps at different locations. Locals have complained that they have spotted leopards in different areas and say there are at least four of them on the prowl.

Meanwhile, residents are living in fear after a dead deer was found near the BGS Hospital in Kodipalya near Uttarahalli on Thursday.

A local resident said they are wary about stepping out after 6 pm.

“We have spotted a leopard roaming around several times. We can hear goats and calves in the neighbourhood making noises out of fear. We don’t step out after 6 pm and stay indoors. We can’t go out for walks or take our pets out. The leopard has attacked several stray dogs in the locality.” said a woman resident of the area.”

Another woman, who owns eight cows, said they have to tie the cattle outside on the road and added that they fear to step out after 8 pm. “Two leopards chased cattle yesterday and sneaked into the bushes. Then we burst crackers and rescued the cattle”.

Parents and schoolchildren say they are scared but have no other way.

Manvita, a student of Chinmaya School, said, “We have heard about the movement of leopards, but we have to go to school. There’s no other way”. Her father said, “We are scared to move around. We’re planning to sell our house and move elsewhere. I don’t have a four-wheeler and I have to take my children to school on my motorcycle and we have to take the same road which passes through the forest area.”

The Turahalli reserve forest area.

Another resident said, “I have two children studying in different schools. My family members used to pick them up after school, but now I have to take leave from work in the afternoon and drop them back home.”

“I have stopped my morning walks and now I am forced to take the car to drop my children to school”, said a parent who himself works in a school.

Channapura villagers are carrying sticks while continuing with the farming activity.

A leopard has also struck at Channapura village at the foot of Nandi Hills in Doddaballapur taluk and attacked a calf belonging to one Krishnappa two days ago. The leopard has been attacking goats, chicken and dogs over the last 15 days and villagers are now scared to venture towards the hills.

When venturing out to their fields for farming activity, the villagers are now making sure that they carry long sticks to protect themselves. They have also complained to the Forest Department, but the leopard has remained elusive so far.

A leopard was spotted on the ITC factory premises on Thursday.

Elsewhere, two days after a leopard was spotted near the ITC factory near Chikkajala in Yelahanka taluk, employees are scared to turn up for work though the Forest Department has set up a trap. The leopard was spotted within the factory premises on Tuesday.

Pug marks seen on the fieds in Tarabahalli village.

At Tarabahalli village close to the factory, pug marks were seen in the fields and villagers are wary. Those living on farms have locked their houses and moved to safer places.

Shoot-at-sight orders issued

Deputy Consevator of Forest Kamala Karikalan has issued Shoot-at-sight orders after a leopard killed a woman at Kebbehundi village in T Narsipur taluk on Thursday evening. Just last month, a leopard had killed a youth at ML Hundi in T Narsipur taluk.

Meghana (22), a student of the government women’s college, was killed when she stepped out into the backyard of her house to wash utensils. The leopard, which was hiding in the sugarcane fields closeby, pounced on her and attacked her. It even dragged her for some distance. When she did not get back inside, her parents went out and found her in a pool of blood. A seriously injured Meghana was rushed to the government hospital in T Narsipur, but she could not be saved.

Deputy Consevator of Forest Kamala Karikalan speaking to protesting villagers.

Following the Meghana’s death, villagers staged a protest in front of the hospital on Thursday night to vent their ire against the Forest Department. Deputy Consevator of Forest Kamala Karikalan, who arrived at the spot, promised the villagers that the leopard will be shot at sight and an operation will be launched immediately.

She also said that Meghana’s family will be given Rs 5 lakh as relief and Rs 2,000 monthly allowance every month for the next five years. One family members will also be given a job on outsourcing basis. The RFO-1 will be sent on compulsory leave and an inquiry will be instituted against him, she added. Only after this did the villagers relent.

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