Farmer killed by sloth bear in Pilibhit Tiger reserve

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Farmer killed by sloth bear in Pilibhit Tiger reserve
Pilibhit (UP):  A 26-year-old man was killed by a sloth bear in the Barahi forest range of the Pilibhit tiger reserve (PTR) on Wednesday.

The locals blocked the road and gheraoed forest officers, demanding compensation for his kin. They relented after the authorities promised them an ex-gratia of Rs 5 lakh.

The man, Lalram, a farmer, was killed in the core area of the forest range but the villagers claimed that he died in his farm which is 200 metres from the forest boundary.

Monetary compensation in case of death is payable jointly by the state government and the forest department only if the man-animal conflict takes place outside the core forest area of a tiger reserve.

According to the victim’s cousin, Shri Pal, Lalram, who is from Piparia Santosh village, went to the field on Tuesday evening to guard the wheat crop from wild animals and stray cattle but did not return home the next morning.

Shri Pal, along with the locals, started searching for him, following which they found his body. He is believed to have been killed at least 14-15 hours before the body was found.

When police rushed to the spot, the villagers refused to hand over the body to them for post-mortem and instead kept it on the Madhotanda-Khatema road, blocking the traffic for around two hours.

Later in the afternoon, when forest officials reached the spot.

Officials disputed the locals’ version, saying that no pug marks of the sloth bear, blood splatter or any signs of struggle were found in the farm.

On being asked about the situation, the field director of PTR, Vijay Singh said, “We are reviewing the entire matter before taking a final decision.”

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