55-year-old woman killed by leopard in Chandrapur village

CHANDRAPUR : A 55-year-old woman was killed by a leopard at Gadbori village in Sindewahi taluka of Chandrapur in the early hours of Friday. “The woman, identified as Gayabai Hatkar, was sleeping in her hut when the leopard dragged her into the forest,” said Rama Rao, chief conservator of forest, Chandrapur.

According to sources, the woman used to live alone in the village after her three daughters got married. He house did not have a door. The incident led to protest against the forest department. Brahmapuri Congress MLA Vijay Wadettiwar and social activist Paromita Goswami visited the village soon after the incident.

Wadettiwar did not let the woman’s body to be cremated, saying he would allow it only after officials from Nagpur visit the village. An activist who visited the place said, “The body was rotting under the scorching sun but Wadettiwar was unmoved.”

Wadettiwar didn’t respond to calls and text messages.

The attack comes four days after a leopard had killed and partially eaten a nine-month-old child in the village. On Wednesday night, the forest department had managed to cage a leopard but there was at least one more in the forests near the village.

Meanwhile, Rao, who visited the village, agreed to consider all demands of villagers, including a compound around the village. The dead body was later allowed to be taken for cremation. Rao said, “We have kept a team of 10 people to guard the village. We have captured a female leopard, but the male was still around. It managed to avoid the trap.”

Rao added that the village’s proximity to a dense bamboo forest makes it prone to such attacks by wild animals. Besides, as one of the measures after the first leopard attack incident in the village, the Forest department had installed 35 solar lamps around the village to increase visibility at night.

With the woman’s death, the toll in animal attacks in Chandrapur district has gone up to 12 this year, eight of them in Brahmapuri forest division.