Hunt gone awry
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Hunt gone awry

A local police party killed a Congressman who was helping them track down a bear, reports Priya Ranjan Sahu.

india Updated: Feb 16, 2006 17:09 IST

On the hunt for a wild bear in Sambalpur, a local police party accidentally killed a Congress party block chairman who was helping them track down the animal.

The bear had earlier killed a villager, Ramchandra Pradhan, on Tuesday.

Villagers told forest department personnel about the incident. But Ramchandra's body couldn't be traced.

On Wednesday morning, forest and police personnel commenced on their hunt with Rairakhol block chairman Harekrusna Pradhan.

They reached a clearing where they found Ramachandra's body but the bear was nowhere to be seen.

Harekrusna went near the body when suddenly the bear attacked him. Pressing the panic button, the police -- who were just a few metres away -- opened fire.

They hit both Harekrusna and the bear, killing them.

News of Harekrusna's killing immediately sparked off tension in the area. A mob caught several policemen, including Charmal area officerin-charge Rajat Rai.

They tore the uniforms of several police personnel and locked them up at the Rairakhol sub-divisional hospital. They then blocked National Highway 42.

Alleging the police had deliberately killed Harekrusna, the mob took his body to Rairakhol sub-division hospital, fearing mischief during post-mortem.

The villagers suspect Harekrusna was shot in the waist, thigh and hand.

Rai has been suspended. Defending the police team, Sambalpur (Northern Range) DIG Pranabindu Acharya said the bear had badly wounded Harekrusna and he quoted the OIC as saying just a blank had been fired to scare off the bear.

But the villagers said a blank couldn't have killed the bear.

First Published: Feb 16, 2006 16:29 IST