Leopard’s killing puts police in dock
Wildlife authorities file compliant
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Jan 19: Killing of a leopard by police in south Kashmir’s Pulwama district on Sunday has left the Wildlife Department and police at logger heads with the former filing a complaint against the latter and initiating a probe into the circumstances which led to the incident. However, police claims that it killed the leopard to save life of a civilian.
The leopard was shot dead when it barged into Purchoo in Pulwama and reportedly injured some civilians.
The Wildlife warden, south Kashmir, Mushtaq Ahmad Parasa, told Greater Kashmir he had lodged a complaint under section 50 of the Wildlife Act in Pulwama Police Station.
“We want to know under what circumstances the leopard was killed. If any government officials had killed the animal in good faith, he will not face any prosecution. However, if the leopard was killed needlessly, the official could face imprisonment of 5-6 years and fine upto Rs 25,000 under section 60 sub-section 27 of wildlife Act,” Parasa said.
However, Parasa said prima facie it seemed the police had acted under public pressure “There was a big mob shouting slogans and urging police to open fire. To pacify the people, police opened the fire. But we can reach a conclusion after investigation,” he said.
“We were in constant touch with police and when our team reached the spot, police had killed the leopard. Had the police waited for a few more minutes, we could have been able to save the precious life,” he added.
The SSP, Kifayat Hyder, told Greater Kashmir that police fired upon the leopard to save the life of a civilian.
“Our team has fired upon leg of the leopard. Suddenly, it came out of the shed and attacked a civilian, Ghulam Mohiuddin. To save his life, our men fired upon the leopard. Though the leopard was killed, the civilian received bullet injuries on his leg. Whole media is witness to the incident. There is nothing for us to hide. We are ready for any probe,” he said.
The SSP said people were infuriated over the reports that the civilian had received bullet on his head. “They pelted stones on us. However, the people learnt about the truth later,” he said. The video footage on a social networking site shows a policeman firing indiscriminately on the leopard trapped in a room— from point-blank range.
Pertinently, leopards and bears have been frequently spotted in residential areas of the city and areas near the forests. Experts blame increasing disturbance in forests for incursion of wild animals into residential areas.
At least 30 persons have been killed and hundreds injured in attacks by wild animals across the Valley over the past two years. Scores of wild animals also lost their lives in the incidents. In 2006, a bear was burnt to death by a mob in Pulwama evoking strong criticism from the animal lovers.
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jan 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 19 Jan 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jan 2010 00:00:00 IST
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