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Forest officer poses as priest, nabs poachers selling tiger parts for tantric purposes

Kanha park superintendent, Sudhir Mishra posed as a tantric priest and arrested the five poachers from buffer zone of Kanha tiger reserve.

bhopal Updated: Oct 02, 2017 20:23 IST
Neeraj Santoshi
Neeraj Santoshi
Hindustan Times, Bhopal
The poachers are Chhattisgarh natives and belong to Baiga and Gond tribal communities.(HT PHOTO)

Illegal traders of tiger parts near Madhya Pradesh’s Kanha Tiger Reserve were looking for a buyer — specifically a tantric priest known as panda, as the parts are used in rituals in the region.

And they chanced upon one, only to be betrayed in Bollywood style, for the panda turned out to be a forest official.

Kanha park superintendent, Sudhir Mishra had posed as a panda after he got information on the illegal trade, and lured the five Chhattisgarh natives into holding a meeting in the reserve’s buffer zone in Mandla district, over 380 kms from Bhopal.

“The meeting was fixed through phone calls. Finally, when I met them in the Baihar area of the buffer, we immediately arrested them,” he said, adding that they were sent to judicial custody by a court.

Four tiger nails, a tooth and two bikes, used in the crime, were seized.

They culprits, belonging to Baiga and Gond tribal communities, were trying to sell the tiger body parts for use in tantric rituals as pandas have spread superstitions that using claws, paws, teeth, bones and whiskers of tigers and leopards could make villagers rich, give them location of buried treasure, make them successful in gambling and so on.

According to forest officials, the trend of using tiger and leopard paws, claws and whiskers for tantric rituals has also picked up in MP, especially in and around Kanha and Pench tiger reserves.

Last year, Madhya Pradesh lost 30 tigers, the highest in the country, with Pench and Kanha reserves alone accounting for over 20 deaths.

In December, busting a major poaching network in Pench-Kanha corridor, forest department’s Special Task Force (STF) arrested 39 people for poaching of three tigers and four leopards.

The accused included four tantric priests, 14 middlemen and 21 poachers who admitted to poaching tigers and leopards for tantric purposes in Seoni and Balaghat districts.

In November, a tiger was killed and its paws are taken away in Balaghat near Pench for a tantric ritual. Many such incidents have been reported from the area.

Apart from parts of tigers, parts of other animals being used for tantric rituals in the state include ‘Siyaar Singhis’ (jackal’s horn, a boney cone-shaped protuberance on the skulls of jackals), ‘Hatha Jodis’ (dried sexual organs of monitor lizards), ‘Billi ki Jer’ (cat’s umbilical cords) and so on.

In June this year, a temple priest and four traders were arrested in MP for selling animal body parts including “sexual organs of Monitor lizards” for tantric rituals through websites to customers in India and foreign countries.

First Published: Oct 02, 2017 20:23 IST