STATESMAN NEWS SERVICE
Bolangir, 5 December
 The relatives of two persons, who were injured by a leopard at Pipurt village in Belgaon panchayat last month before it was killed by an angry group of villagers, have lodged FIRs against the ranger and forester, alleging that the officials acted in a highhanded manner and arrested the injured duo.
According to sources, Ms Rebati Gadatia, wife of Mr Abhiram Gadatia has lodged an FIR against the range officer of Titlagarh sub-division, while Ms Baidehi Majhi, a relative of Murali Majhi, has filed a case against the forester of Deogaon circle.
The aggrieved parties alleged that the forest officials arrested Mr Gadatia and Mr Majhi on charges of killing the leopard even though they had sustained grievous injuries by the animal.
“The department acted in a very callous manner. The leopard was killed by the villagers when it attacked the duo. Instead of providing them with compensation and better medical facilities, the officials got the duo arrested. Should they not have acted to protect their lives from the killer animal?” asked a relative of Mr Gadatia.The department had arrested three persons in connection with killing the animal. 
It may be mentioned here that the Zilla Adibashi Sangh had recently taken up the issue, while questioning the action on part of the forest department. The prominent tribal outfit had taken out a massive rally here.
“We wanted to protest the arrest of the three villagers including the two injured ones. The department did not take any steps to protect the villagers from the animal but was prompt to swoop down on them after the animal was killed. Was it wrong on part of the villagers to protect their own lives and those of their domestic animals?” questioned a functionary of the Sangh.
It may be mentioned here that the animal, which had created a panic wave in the locality by frequently straying into human habitations and killing domestic animals, had met its tragic end on 14 November.