Out to catch crabs, woman dragged away by tiger in Bengal’s Sundarbans
Banalata Tarafdar, a middle-aged woman, was dragged away by a tiger in Pirkhali in the core area of the Sundarbans, where she had gone to catch crabs on Monday.
Three other women who had accompanied Tarafdar on a boat, managed to return safely and informed the forest department and police station about the incident.
“They had valid permission for going into the forest area to catch fish. We are conducting searches for the woman who was taken away by the tiger,” said Tripti Saha, divisional forest officer (south) in South 24 Parganas district.
According to the local people, 50-year-old Banalata, who is a resident of Gosaba area, about 87 km to the south of Kolkata, was on a boat when a tiger suddenly attacked the boat. Though the three somehow managed to jump into the river, the tiger caught hold of Tarafdar and dragged her away.
“Those who accompanied my wife told me that a tiger dragged her away from the boat,” Gour Tarafdar, the husband of the victim said.
Incidentally, Tarafdar is the eighth person to be taken away by a tiger in the
Sundarbans since December 2018. They had ventured into the core area of the forest either to catch fish and crabs or collect honey.
In 2018, at least 12 people were killed in tiger attacks in the Sundarbans.
Rivers and narrow creeks criss-cross the Sundarbans -- often not more than 15-20 feet wide -- these contain a lot of fish and crabs. Those who venture out to catch fish in these creeks often fall prey to such attacks.
Many of the villagers who go to fish in the core areas don’t have permits to enter these areas.
While the tigers sometimes attack fishermen who step on the land, the animals also jump onto the boats that are often within their range since the channels are narrow.
In a separate incident on Monday, seven forest department employees including a beat officer and a range officer were seriously injured when forest personnel were attacked in Ramganga of South 24 Parganas district.
The incident took place when forest officers seized four boats of villagers who went fishing in the core area of the forest.