A forest watchman was found dead while on duty on the isolated Beeragadde–Yellapur road in Yellapur taluk on Wednesday night.

The police said the body of Madev Babu Siddi (35) bore three bullet injuries. The police, who suspect that a country-made gun might have been used by the assailants, said Madev was shot at a point-blank range.

This is the third incident of a Forest Department personnel being killed while on duty in the last eight months. Assistant Conservator of Forests Madan Nayak was fatally attacked by a group of tourists in Dandeli in May and forest watchman Veeresh Siddaih Hiremath posted at Manki check-post in Honnavar taluk was killed by a mentally disturbed man in May.

Madev, who hailed from Idagundi in the taluk, was working as a watchman in the Beeragadde forest area on contract basis. Beeragadde is an isolated village with nearly 35 houses and a population of around 400. On Wednesday night, some people who were returning to Beeragadde found Madev lying dead in a pool of blood and alerted the police.

The police, who shifted the body to the Yellapur government hospital, said three bullets had pierced through Madev’s abdomen and one of them was recovered from the spot. On Thursday, the body was shifted to KIMS in Hubli.

The police are yet to ascertain whether Madev fell to the bullets of poachers when he tried to prevent them from committing a crime or whether they mistook him for an animal and shot him. The police are also investigating whether personal enmity led to the crime.

K.T. Balakrishna, Superintendent of Police, Subhash Gudimani, Additional Superintendent of Police, other senior police officials and senior forest officials visited the spot.

When contacted, Savitri Siddi, Madev’s wife, and Parvathi Siddi, his mother, said Madev had seized timber that was being smuggled from the Idagundi forest area over a month ago. They suspected that he was killed to settle a score. They said he had no enemies.

Madev’s house is situated just 2 km away from the place where he was found dead.

  • Madev Babu Siddi’s body had three bullet injuries

  • He had no enemies: family