Villagers in Uttarakhand's Bageshwar burn down entire forest after leopard kills boy

Around eight hectares of forest land was burnt to ashes by angry villagers in Uttarakhand's Bageshwar district after a leopard mauled to death a seven-year-old boy, the second such incident in three months, police said.

The attack took place on Monday evening when the boy had gone out of his home in Harinagri village to answer nature's call while his mother was in the kitchen, Chief Conservator of Forest BP Gupta told PTI.

The leopard dragged the boy inside the forest surrounding the house. The next morning, his half eaten body was recovered by villagers 250 metres away, Gupta said.

"Angry villagers numbering around 4000-5000 set on fire eight hectares of van panchayat land in the village yesterday," Gupta, who is also the nodal officer for forest fires said?quoting Bageshwar DFO RK Singh.

The fire could not be extinguished as irate villagers did not allow outsides to enter the village, he said.

The villagers also blamed the same leopard for killing a four-year-old boy in the area in March this year."Since it was the second such incident in the area, the villagers may have burnt down the forest to clear the thickets and destory the big cat's hideout to save themselves," the official said.

According to Gupta, the leopard has been declared a man-eater and an order to kill it has been issued, Gupta said.

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