An agitated mob killed a leopard on Saturday at Betoni village under Khowang forest range in Moran, 45 km from Dibrugarh after it attacked and injured 7 persons.
According to reports, the leopard entered a house in the area in the morning hours at around 8 am and pounced upon a woman seriously injuring her. After attacking the woman, identified as Gunada Dehingia (43), the leopard injured a 14-year old boy Samiran Borgohain. Hearing the incident, people from nearby villages came out with sticks and machetes and started searching for the leopard.
According to local villagers, the leopard had been venturing in the area for last one month and recently took away their domestic animals. “We have informed about the incident to forest officials but they didn’t take any step to catch the wild cat,” a villager alleged.
After nearly two hours of relentless search the agitated villagers finally managed to corner it in a strip of jungle. The leopard also fought back ferociously and injured five more persons who were identified as Ramesh Gohain, Girin Das, Pramod Chetia, Sishuram Dehingia and Akon Borgohain. The others surrounded the animal and mercilessly beat it to death.
According to source, forest officials reached the spot nearly an hour later. The injured persons were provided preliminary treatment at the Khowang primary health centre. Four of the seriously injured were later shifted to the Assam Medical College and Hospital.
Dibrugarh DFO Dilip Kumar Deka said a case has been registered in connection with the incident. The autopsy of the carcass was conducted before it was cremated as per forest rule, he added.
“The incident of man-animal conflict has been rising tremendously due to shrinking of forest cover and the wild cat came out from forest and entered the village in search of food. Many a times we have held discussion with the villagers and told them not to kill leopard but they didn’t listen to us,” DFO added.
Last year two leopards were killed in the same manner by irate mob at Naharkatia, Jeypore and Jokai area in Dibrugarh.
Leopards are protected under Schedule 1 of the Indian Wildlife Protection Act, 1972.