Angered by the death of a person inside reserve forest, a mob from Govindapadi and Karaikadu villages, in Karnataka-Tamil Nadu border, ransacked a checkpost of the Forest department, here on Friday.
The attack occurred after the body of Palani (45), a resident of Govindapadi, who was allegedly involved in poaching activities was discovered on the banks of River Palani, during the early hours of the day. The body was found at Adi Palar, near Gopinathan range of Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary (CWS).
Learning about the incident, more than hundred residents from the two villages attacked the checkpoint and Palar range forest office at around 10.30 am, said Sandeep M, Range Forest Officer of Palar Wildlife Range, attached to MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary. The attackers made away with five guns of the department, two laptops, one seized ivory tusk and other tools present at the office. Several documents of the department were also destroyed during the attack, he said.
While around 10 personnel were present at the office during the assault, they managed to escape from the protestors.
Soon after the incident, officials from MM Hills Sanctuary and CWS visited the spot and lodged a complaint with the police. The body of Palani was brought to Mysore for autopsy.
According to Javed Mumthaz, DCF of MM Hills Sanctuary, there was an exchange of fire between Forest department personnel and armed poachers in CWS limits at around 2.30 am on October 22. “RFO Madhusudhan was patrolling with his staff, when he saw flashlights. When the department staff followed, they saw four poachers. The armed poachers opened fire and fled from the scene leaving the meat of poached sambars behind,” he said.
On Friday morning, body of one of the poachers was found. Rumours circulated in the nearby region that the person was shot and killed by the department personnel, following which the villagers ransacked the office, he said.
Palani, he said, might have got caught in a whirlpool in Palani river and died, as he tried to evade the department personnel who were on his trail, he said.
Responding to questions, he said that prima facie there were no bullet injuries on the body of the deceased. Post-mortem report was awaited to assess the exact cause of death, Mumthaz said.
He added that Palani was among the poachers, whose information was exchanged with Tamil Nadu police recently, in an attempt to curb poaching incidents inside the reserves.
Sources said that another poacher who was among the four persons who had exchanged fire with the department personnel, is suspected to be injured in the exchange of fire.
“The department has received a tip off that an injured poacher is getting treatment in his village and is on a look out for him,” the source said.
With the villagers ransacking the forest department office at a checkpost situated in the border, movement of traffic along the road was hampered for more than an hour.
Police personnel however, succeeded in pacifying the villagers and cleared the traffic.