After a tiger mauled to death four people in Kodagu district of Karnataka, the state legislative assembly on Tuesday took up the issue of man-animal conflict for discussion. But the discussion saw strange statements coming from the members.
Virajpete MLA KG Bopaiah from the BJP said, “First catch that tiger. If you cannot, let us know. We will take the necessary action. We will marry the tiger”.
The MLA was referring to an old tradition called ‘narimangala’ where the tiger hunter was married to the tiger he killed. Tiger hunters were traditionally respected in Kodagu for these animals would pose a threat to livestock. The hunter would also be showered with gifts from the villagers.
Adding to what Bopaiah said, Appachu Ranjan, MLA from Madikeri said, “It has already killed four people. We will kill that tiger if you cannot”.
Forest minister Arvind Limbavali intervened and stated that the members (or locals) had no right to kill the animal.
“I have already directed the officials to take necessary action. I have ordered to shoot the animal,” he assured.
The tiger is said to have been posing a threat to villagers and livestock in Shettygeri, Kumatooru and Belluru villages in Virajpete division in Kodagu district. An order from the forest department on Monday directed for the tiger to be caught and on failure to do so, as a last resort to shoot the animal.
As of Tuesday, the tiger mauled to death four people in the last twenty days including an eight-year-old boy in Belluru village following which section 144 was imposed in the village on Monday. The boy’s grandfather died on Tuesday after suffering grievous injuries while trying to protect the boy early on Monday morning. The incident occurred while he was working at a coffee plantation.
Residents in these villages have been protesting for the last two days demanding action from the government. Several farmers gathered at Belluru village claiming that the tiger posed threat to their and animals’ life and that they would continue protesting until the forest department caught the tiger.