Unnerving Brutality: The Man-Animal Conflict
It was a sight that exposed the rapid disappearance of human value which threatens to uproot the remaining shoots that uphold the balance of symbiosis between man and animal.
It was a sight that exposed the rapid disappearance of human value which threatens to uproot the remaining shoots that uphold the balance of symbiosis between man and animal. The tragic incident took place on the outskirts of Orissa’s capital Bhubaneswar where a bunch of villagers made a deplorable show of dastardliness by beating to death a rare leopard which had strayed near to the human habitation by chance.
In the early hours of Thursday a lone leopard had sneaked into an isolated area bordering a village called Gandamunda. The animal was squatting behind a bush on an expanse of paddy fields. It was about 10 am when a small group of youngsters from the village noticed the animal. The group soon turned into a big crowd which had gathered there surrounding the area from all sides, thus leaving no way out for the animal to escape. The panicked animal had, perhaps, sensed the threat and was lying in wait to flee from the spot. But that did not happen.
Of those present in the crowd, nobody cared to inform the Forest Department about the animal`s presence and instead, they invited a local TV channel for the coverage and a man from the snake helpline! This showed that the people were predetermined to take on the animal. But it could not be fathomed why was the snake helpline man was invited! The wait-and-watch game went on for over half-an-hour. The leopard, an animal that normally becomes dangerous once injured, was on the defensive - an obvious sign that it had come with no intension to harm anybody. Normally, now-a-days wild animals stray into human habitats looking for food.
The wait-and-watch drama ended and the crowd with lathis (sticks) and other weapons charged the animal from all sides. Surely, unnerved by the sudden outrage from the people, the animal preferred to escape than confront the massive crowd. The people zeroed in on the animal pelting stones and anything their hands could lay on. The injured animal made the last ditch attempt to escape in which it injured two people with his paws. But the people, who were not in a mood to relent, rained lathis on the animal. The leopard was injured and panicked and was dragging itself out from the blitzkrieg of human brutality.
Nothing doing. It was a monstrous show of anger and cruelty. Panicked and coiled to the defensive the leopard was chased wherever it went and the thuds of the lathis were lost in the injured body of the hapless animal bereft of all its defense. The beating went on and on till the animal crumbled to the ground panting for breath, his movements becoming less and less intense. The brutality went on till some lathis-welding guys smashed its face.
When the people from the Forest Department reached the spot, the animal had died and a bunch of shameless youngsters were posing for pictures with the dead animal. The Forest Department has, in the meanwhile, ordered an inquiry into the incident.