Local community says it should have been roped in earlier
The search launched on Sunday morning by Forest and Police Department personnel to trace Satwik Shastri, the IT professional who went missing in the forests of the Bannerghatta National Park, failed to yield any results till the local villagers joined them.
After receiving the missing complaint, the Bannerghatta Park Police and Forest Department personnel began searching. However, they had made no progress when they called it off for the day at 6.30 p.m. On Monday morning, they intensified their search with 10 different teams comprising about 100 personnel.
Curiously, they reportedly snubbed offers from residents of Ragehalli village to join the search operations on Sunday as well as Monday morning. But, when the search teams failed to track down Satwik after scouring the region till 11.30 a.m. on Monday, the authorities relented and allowed some 10 local residents to join them.
“And within two hours, we successfully led them to the spot in Niranigundi region in Ragehalli forests, where Satwik’s body was found,” said Srinivas, a resident of Ragehalli village. A sandal left behind by Ashish Shenoi, IT employee and part of the trio which had entered the forest area, led the search team to believe it was on the right track. And sure enough there was Satwik’s body. “It was found in the bushes, badly mauled by an apparent elephant attack,” said Mr. Srinivas. It lay about 300 metres away from the jungle path trekkers usually take.
Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent of Bangalore Rural District Police A. Kumaraswamy said a police team led by Assistant Sub Inspector (ASI) of Police Vishwanath traced the body but acknowledged the presence of local residents in the team that successfully located Satwik.
When it was pointed out to Additional Superintendent of Bangalore District Police Nagaraj that it had taken the more than 42 hours to trace the body, he said the search operations on Sunday had been hampered by the drizzle and cloudy weather.
But Mr. Srinivas had the last word: Satwik’s body could have been traced earlier had the authorities allowed the local community to join the search team.