A gang of poachers opened fire when they were confronted by forest guards in Nagarahole National Park early on Saturday. A guard was injured in the incident.

The guard, Siddaraju, was shifted to K.R. Hospital for treatment and is out of danger. The pellets narrowly missed one of his kidneys, according to sources.

The incident took place around 1 a.m., when the forest guards were on night patrol at Kappanakatte Haadi in Veeranahosahalli range. They heard the sound of a bullet fired at a short range. The forest guards, led by Forest Officer Kiran Kumar, split into two teams, and decided to wait for the poachers to emerge from the forests.

However, after waiting for some time, the guards decided to move in and, within a few minutes, came face-to-face with a gang carrying a poached deer. When told to stop, the gang dropped the carcass and rolled down, opening fire at the guards. The forest guards fired back and in the exchange, Mr. Siddaraju was injured.

The poachers, who fired around eight to ten rounds, were armed with rifles and double-barrel guns. They escaped under the cover of the darkness. The police was informed immediately and a combing operation was launched, but there was no trace of the poachers. The officials said the poached deer had two bullet marks on its forehead. The police also recovered two pairs of footwear.

It is suspected that the gang comprised five persons. Senior Forest Department officials and police visited the spot. The Hunsur police have registered a case.

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