Tigress ‘Sundari,’ which has been translocated from Madhya Pradesh to the Satkosia Tiger Reserve, killed a villager and injured three others including one TV journalist near village Tainsi, 40 km away from Angul on Sunday. The incident resulted in total mayhem with angry villagers torching vehicles and blocking NH-55 fighting a pitched battle with the police.
Police resorted to lathi charge and firing tear gas squibs to try and disperse the rampaging mob.
The mob went berserk and beat up a forest tracking team who were, in fact, monitoring the movement of Sundari and had reportedly been to Tainsi to warn a group of villagers not to venture near a water body.
The villagers attacked the team and held three forest officials captive since early morning.
The violence continued right up to late evening as miscreants torched police vehicles. Several policemen were injured.
Trinath Sahu, 65, went to a forest nearby his village Tainsi early Sunday morning when he was attacked by the tigress.
A journalist and two villagers who had been to the spot were also attacked by the wild tigress.
“We have been demanding the shifting of the tigress out of Satkosia tiger reserve but the authorities are not paying heed. Rs 50 lakh ex gratia to the family of the deceased, a job to next of kin and shifting of the tigress are our demands,” said the villagers.
Tension prevailed not only in Tainsi village but also in the entire Satkosia forest region.
Repeated calls to the additional chief conservator of forest Sudarshan Panda or to the DFO V Kartik yielded no response.
But forest officials, speaking on conditions of anonymity, said the tigress has been on surveillance ever since its release in the forest and the tracking team was, in fact, telling villagers not to approach the water body as it had gone there. But the villagers were adamant on going to catch fish at the water body. They assaulted forest officers and proceeded to the spot. Some of them apparently tried to chase it away and in the process the tigress attacked Trinath Sahu, killing him, said the forest official.
The sources also suspect that the timber mafia and a particular political party are inciting people to somehow ensure that the tigress is shifted out of Satkosia.
It may be noted that on September 12, the villagers had turned violent alleging that a woman had been killed by the tigress. But the post mortem and investigations did not confirm the woman had been attacked by the tigress.
Sundari, the tigress, was released to the wild on August 17. A month prior to it a male RBT from Kanha in Madhya Pradesh had been released to Satkosia forest in the first ever wild to wild inter state trans location of tigers.