Villagers kill, cut up leopard

Jorhat, Jan. 18: A leopard that attacked and injured two persons in a village near Sonari in Charaideo sub-division of Sivasagar district near the Assam-Nagaland border was lynched by the villagers today. The mob also mutilated its carcass.

The incident occurred at Oguri Shyamgaon under Sonari police station in the Borhat forest range of Sivasagar forest division.

Forest department sources said the adult male leopard was beaten to death by the villagers after it strayed into the village this morning and then attacked two villagers ' Khagen Somoiriya, 43, and Hemchandra Gogoi, 28 ' who are currently undergoing treatment at the Charaideo government hospital.

Borhat range officer Prasanta Gogoi, who visited the village after the incident, told The Telegraph that the animal was killed around noon before forest or police personnel could reach the village.

Gogoi said his office at Borhat received information around 12.30pm that a huge crowd had gathered in the village with sticks and sharp weapons following the sighting of the leopard on a treetop. He immediately sent a forest team to the village, over 35km away, and also informed the police.

However, by the time forest and police teams reached the spot, the mob had killed the big cat and mutilated the carcass.

Gogoi said the mob had cut off the leopard's tail, nails and two hind paws and had ripped out its intestines, besides gouging out its eyes. "The way the animal was mutilated is very disturbing," he said.

The post mortem of the animal was conducted at the Charaideo veterinary centre.

Gogoi said preliminary investigations revealed that the animal had climbed up a tree after entering the village but the swelling crowd led it to jump off and attack two persons.

Gogoi said following the attack on the duo, the angry villagers chased the leopard and killed it. He said an FIR had been lodged at the Sonari police station in this connection and an investigation was on.

Incidents of leopards getting killed and humans being injured as a result of man-animal conflict have been on the rise in Upper Assam during the last few years. The latest incident took place around 10 days back when a leopard was reportedly killed in a similar manner at Beesakopie tea estate in Tinsukia district.

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