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That bear hug hurt

When an ashram inmate opened the doors of the cage, the bear came out, sniffed at Pattnaik's feet and then pounced on him.

india Updated: Jun 27, 2006 04:01 IST

The collector saab wanted a bear hug but the grizzly creature gave him a squeeze he won't forget. Nuapada Collector PC Pattnaik was wounded on Sunday when a pet bear attacked him at the Amsena Gurukul Ashram in Orissa.

According to reports, Pattnaik, who visited the ashram with family and friends, expressed his desire to cuddle the bear and even get himself photographed with the animal.

When an ashram inmate opened the doors of the cage, the bear came out, sniffed at Pattnaik's feet and then pounced on him. It then bit both his thighs and his right leg. As the collector screamed in pain, his bodyguard fired four shots at the bear. The animal let go and retreated into its cage.

A profusely bleeding Pattnaik was first taken to the Nuapada district hospital. As his condition worsened, he was taken to MMI Hospital in Raipur. He is reportedly out of danger, but has fractured his right heel and lost some flesh on his thighs.

While everybody was busy shifting Patnaik to hospital, the bear slipped into the nearby forest. Police and forest officials captured it early on Monday morning.

The bear has been in the ashram for the last five years. Khariar forest officer G Rajesh told the Hindustan Times that the ashram authorities claimed the bear wasn't kept illegally. "They have submitted all their papers and we are verifying them," he said.

A footnote on the villain: He is nursing his bullet wounds at the ashram.