Con­flict on rise in IIT-M too, three hurt in jackal at­tack

Sunday Express - - SUNDAY STORY - SV KR­ISHNA CHAITANYA @ Chen­nai

The man-an­i­mal con­flict in IIT Madras has once again came to fore. Ac­cord­ing to sources, three peo­ple sus­tained griev­ous in­juries in jack­als’ at­tack on the wee hours of Satur­day and an ag­i­tated group of peo­ple re­port­edly caught the an­i­mal and beat it to death. One of the vic­tims was iden­ti­fied as Gan­gareddy, who came to visit a rel­a­tive in the cam­pus. He was al­legedly bit­ten by the an­i­mal, which ap­par­ently tried to pull him in­side the for­est. The in­ci­dent hap­pened in the E-type quar­ters.

Geetha, a rel­a­tive of the vic­tim and work­ing as an of­fice as­sis­tant in biotech­nol­ogy de­part­ment, told

Ex­press: “At around 4 am, my dogs at home and mon­keys started mak­ing loud noises out­side the house and my un­cle Gan­gareddy, who came from Hyderabad to at­tend my daugh­ter wed­ding, got out to see what was hap­pen­ing. Around 5-6 jack­als had strayed into the res­i­den­tial area and one of them tried to jump into our com­pound. See­ing that, another rel­a­tive of mine tried to scare the an­i­mal away with a stick. But, the an­i­mal man­aged to catch the an­kle of my un­cle and tried to drag him into the for­est. He was badly in­jured,” she ex­plained.

One of the pri­vate se­cu­rity guards em­ployed by IIT Madras was also bit­ten by the an­i­mal, when he tried to come to the res­cue of Gan­gareddy. Fol­low­ing this, three more se­cu­rity per­son­nel al­legedly gath­ered and beat the an­i­mal to death with sticks.

A for­est of­fi­cial, who in­ves­ti­gated the mat­ter and recorded the state­ments of se­cu­rity per­son­nel, said it was a fe­male an­i­mal and preg­nant. “The se­cu­rity per­son­nel con­fessed that they beat the an­i­mal to death and buried the car­cass. They weren’t able to iden­tify the spot where the an­i­mal was buried. We will con­tinue the search and once the car­cass is re­cov­ered and post­mortem is done, all the ac­cused would be booked un­der wildlife act and re­manded,” the of­fi­cial at­tached to Guindy Na­tional Park said, and ac­cused the IIT Madras of not re­port­ing wildlife deaths to the for­est de­part­ment.

Wildlife ac­tivists al­lege that habi­tat degra­da­tion, frag­men­ta­tion and in­creas­ing bi­otic pres­sure would be the rea­sons for these an­i­mals stray­ing out of forests. “Post Var­dah cy­clone and re­moval of Seemai

Karu­ve­lam fol­low­ing court’s di­rec­tions, the an­i­mals’ nat­u­ral habi­tat has been de­stroyed. Jack­als are a source of ra­bies virus,” said an­i­mal ac­tivist Antony Cle­ment Ru­bin to Ex­press.

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