‘We heard monkeys were attacking; were shocked to see leopard before us’
The leopard also injured a 61-year-old woman Ramavati from Loni, who had come to the court with her son Praveen Singh
Ghaziabad police head constable Vikas Kumar, 37, was on security duty at court room number 35 on the second floor when he heard some lawyers shouting “cheetah a gaya... (cheetah has come)”. By the time he could react, the animal was right in front of him.
Kumar was the first person to be attacked by the animal, which entered the Ghaziabad district courts complex on Wednesday afternoon around 4pm.
“I suffered injuries to my hands, shoulders and back. Seeing the animal, people ran helter-skelter to save themselves and several of them locked themselves up in the courtrooms,” Kumar said from Sanjay Nagar Combined District Hospital, where he has been admitted for treatment.
The leopard also injured a 61-year-old woman Ramavati from Loni, who had come to the court with her son Praveen Singh. They were on the second floor near room number 38 when they saw the leopard advancing.
“My mother could not run and get inside the room. Some people pushed me inside the courtroom and locked it from inside while my mother was left outside defenceless. I was shouting for help and screaming at people and policemen inside but they did not unlock the door. The leopard attacked my mother and injured her on her hands and shoulders. She is in shock now and has been admitted to the district hospital,” Singh said.
Three brothers Zeeshan Khan, 40, Tanveer Ahmad, 45, and Ashraf Ahmad, 30, from Kushaliya (Masuri) had also come to the court to apply for bail. The brothers were among the first to come across the big cat.
“People initially were saying monkeys are attacking people. But we were stunned to see a huge leopard in front of us. We were on the second floor when the leopard pounced on Tanveer and injured him badly. Ashraf and I locked ourselves inside one of the washrooms. After sometime when we opened the door, the animal was right there and it attacked me. Then it ran toward Ashraf who came out of the washroom and ran towards the stairs. He too was injured,” Khan said. All three are undergoing treatment at the district hospital.
Naman Jain, 26, from Ramprastha, who came to the court with another person, was also injured and he was admitted to a private hospital in Kavi Nagar.
“When the leopard pounced at me, I decided to fight back. It bit me on my hands and shoulders. After injuring me, it ran off down the corridor,” Jain said.
A group of lawyers also tried to corner the leopard on the first floor. In the process, advocate Pramod Tanwar sustained severe injuries to his face, hands and other parts of the body.
“My colleague fought the leopard for about 10-15 seconds before the leopard fled after injuring Tanwar. He was bleeding heavily and had to be taken to a higher centre for treatment,” said Anuj Garg, Tanwar’s colleague.
The video of the lawyer fighting off the big cat was widely shared on social media as was several other videos of injured persons and the leopard wandering through the court corridors.
The police said a local vendor, Saleem, 30, and another lawyer Jitendra Singh, 33, also suffered injuries.
“The injured persons were given immediate medical attention and are stable at present,” said Nipun Agarwal, deputy commissioner of police (city).
“Everyone was trying to save themselves and people rushed into courts and locked themselves in. The leopard came from the third floor and later descended to other lower floors before being cornered on the ground floor by the forest department personnel and the police. I shot a video when it appeared at the window outside the court of the district judge. We sent alerts and all the courtrooms were locked from inside. Later the police safely evacuated us,” said Satyendra Kumar Verma, administrative officer of the Ghaziabad court.