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3 Jan 2017

Leopard runs amok & attacks in Raiganj

Raiganj town was in a panic on Monday morning as a leopard darted into homes and attacked at least 35 people before it was somehow confined to a house and darted. The Telegraph recounts the mayhem
Reporting by our Raiganj correspondent, pictures by Nantu Dey, TT, 'Like a tiger': The first person to see the leopard was Haripada Sarkar. Sarkar was emerging from his home in Indira Colony for his morning stroll around 7.30am. Just outside his home was the animal. Sarkar raised the alarm after seeing an animal like a tiger. "Bagher moto ", he said but did not realise then that it was a leopard. The animal leapt and attacked Sarkar on the left shoulder and then vanished.
His family did not believe he had seen anything tiger-like. "We thought he was attacked by a dog," a relative said.
The doctor at the nearby district hospital told them the scratches and bruise marks could be a leopard's.
Hunt and hide
Forty metres away from Sarkar's house, the animal hid in a plantain grove close to the house of Amit Pal. Around 9am, when Pal's mother went out to get water from a tubewell, she heard some noise and told the family.
Local youths with sticks and rods ringed the plantain grove.
The leopard leapt at the youths, injuring a People for Animals activist, Debasish Das.
The big cat then started a hide-and-seek game, covering 3sqkm for an hour around the BDO office, the district hospital and a correctional home. It attacked 10 more people.
In the net? Not quite
It entered the house of Gobinda Barui and hid in a bathroom. A 150-strong mob that was chasing the animal reached the site. Some youths with nylon nets jumped towards the animal and tried to wrap it in the gauze. After a 10-minute struggle, the leopard broke free. It also injured more people. It dashed into the house of Biplab Saha, who lives in a building opposite Bauri's.
Caught, finally
Saha, his sister and her one-and-a-half-year-old son were sitting outside their room taking in the sunlight when the leopard darted into one of the rooms.
The chasing youths first took out Saha, his sister and the infant from the house quietly and then shut the door. The leopard was trapped.
Foresters contacted the wildlife squad in Sukna, around 200 km from Raiganj.
The wildlife squad reached the site around 2.45pm. They then used sound crackers to smoke out the animal but in vain. Then a fowl was released into the house. The leopard reacted this time and foresters darted it around 4.30pm.

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