In the fourth incident of its kind in Bahraich over the recent past, a 18-year old boy was mauled and killed by a tiger in a village on the periphery of Katarniya Ghat wildlife reserve, along the Uttar Pradesh-Nepal border, well-known for a fairly sizeable big cat population.
Identified as Jagmohan, the boy was stated to be working in his field, when he was attacked by the feline on Sunday evening.
Jagmohan's cries attracted villagers to the spot, but before the villagers could manage to scare away the beast, the victim was already badly mauled with deep wounds around his neck and chest.
By the time he could be rushed to the nearest hospital, Jagmohan succumbed to his injuries.
Bahraich district forest officer R K Singh, however, disputed the villagers' claim that that tiger had ventured into the Nai Basti village. "The tiger never strayed into the village but it was Jagmohan who walked into the forest," Singh told mediapersons.
While admitting three other incidents of human killing by tigers in this area over the past three months when a 45 year-old-man, a 18-year-old girl and a 7-year-old boy were devoured by the big cat, he refused to accept Jagmohan's killing as an act of a tiger.
Meanwhile, the DFO has released a sum of Rs 5000 for the victim's post-mortem. "Once it is confirmed that Jagmohan fell victim to the tiger, we will pay a compensation of Rs 50,000 to his family," the DFO said.
Social activist Dr Jitendra Chaturvedi, who runs Van Gramvasi Adhikar Manch, an NGO, to fight for the rights of human settlements in and around the forest area, blamed it all on poor development of villages.
"Villages do not have any toilet facilities, compelling common people to venture into forest areas to answer their call of nature; and there they fall easy prey to the big cats," Chaturvedi said.
World Wildlife Fund for Nature project officer Dabeer Hasan, who has been working in this area, claimed that the tiger could not have turned into a 'man-eater,' because it did not take away the body of the victim or devour him."