MYSORE, December 3: Yet another farmer, third in a span of a week – has been killed by a tiger in the Chikkabargi forests in the H.D.Kote taluk of Mysore district sending shock waves and creating panic among the people living on the fringes of the forests on Tuesday.
This is also the fourth death due to tiger attack in the Bandipur-Nagarahole belt during the week as a forest watcher Suresh was killed in Nagarahole range on Saturday.
The latest incident was reported from the Hediyala range of Bandipur Tiger Reserve and the victim was identified as Basappa (55), a farmer who was tending to his cattle close to the jungles when he was apparently attacked by the tiger and dragged away. The incident is said to have taken place at around 5 p.m.
Sources said the only the head and the limbs of the farmer was intact and the torso was partially consumed though this could not be independently corroborated. However, Mr.H.C.Kantharaju, Director, Bandipur Tiger Reserve, confirmed that the tiger attack and death of Basappa and affirmed that he was killed by the same tiger which had claimed the lives of Cheluva, a Jenu Kurub tribal from Seegevadi village as it was only about 2 km from the spot. Earlier, the tiger had also killed Basavaraj from Nadadihaadi which is also close to the place.
Though there were difference of opinion among experts and forest department officials whether the tiger could be construed as a man-eater, the latest incident has confirmed that the animal was preying on human beings.
The forest department had launched a combing operation after the second attack but it did not yield any result and the authorities had called it off on Monday and instead had stepped up vigilance along the periphery of the forest boundary.
But Mr.Kantharaju said the combing operation will be renewed on Wednesday with additional team of veterinary doctors armed with tranquilizer guns to dart and capture the animal.
Meanwhile, people assembled in large numbers near the forest department guest house and staged a protest and there are reports of violence with the villagers going berserk and damaging property.
Officials said the authorities were rushing additional police personnel to dissipate tension and prevent it from snowballing into a full-blown crisis. The Bandipur-Nagarahole landscape has been identified as a prime habitat supporting between 140 to 180 tigers. But these forests are also surrounded by nearly 300 villages resulting in man-animal conflict.