His mutilated body was found in a farmland
A seven-year-old boy has been mauled by a leopard at Naganahalli in Hassan taluk. The boy’s mutilated body was found in a farmland, near the village, on Thursday morning.
Furious village residents staged protests against Forest Department officials and the district administration, holding them responsible for the boy’s death.
After returning home from school on Wednesday, the boy, Tejas, went to meet his parents, Anne Gowda and Prema, who were working in the fields. His neighbours saw him walking towards the fields. But when there was no sign of him till late evening, his parents and relatives started searching for him. They found blood and clothes near their field, leading them to suspect that a leopard, which had been sighted often in the area, had attacked the boy.
The Shantigrama police reached the village and assisted the residents in searching for the child. The search operation continued throughout the night. Forest Department officers, who joined the police late at night, had orders to shoot the animal. However, they were not able to though they spotted the leopard several times.
Kumar, a resident, said, “Despite repeatedly demanding that the animal be captured, officials have not done anything except for placing a cage.” Several women warned the Forest officers of dire consequences if they did not catch the leopard. They also alleged that the officers were lacking in efficiency while conducting such operations.
“We had kept a cage to trap the leopard after receiving complaints. One more cage will be placed in the farmlands, near Naganahalli,” Appu Rao, Deputy Conservator of Forests, said. He handed over a cheque for Rs. 2 lakh to the boy’s family. He also assured them of an additional Rs. 3 lakh.