Leopard terror is keeping residents of 23 villages in Madhya Pradesh indoors after sunset for past two weeks.
The fear is more pronounced in the villages of Katthiwada in Alirajpur district, about 130 kilometres from Indore. The incidents of leopard attacks are on the rise, claim villagers, saying about half-a-dozen cases have been reported from the villages in the past 15 days.
They also claim that a leopard dragged a five-year-old girl and later killed her on Diwali day in Mandhar village. District forest officer (DFO) Alirajpur RS Sikarwar admitted that four to five leopards could be seen roaming in the region. However, about the girl’s killing, he said it was yet to be ascertained whether she was killed by a hyena or a leopard.
He said it was food that was bringing the leopards here. The situation would be stable by November end when the leopards would withdraw into the jungle to avoid cold.
One Chhen Singh said that the fear is so intense that the residents had to go out in groups even to answer nature’s call. Some of them claimed that a leopard was spotted on Wednesday afternoon near Katthiwada Palace, which is surrounded by thick Ratan Mahal jungle, stretching upto Gujarat borders.
Padam Singh, a resident of Amkut village, said he himself was attacked by a leopard a few days ago but he somehow managed to escape. A leopard had killed a buffalo in Kasuba village, the residents said. "We are living in terror. All the residents of the villages which are bordering Gujarat are also suffering," said Shan Khan, a resident of Kattiwada.