Angul: Police resorted to lathi-charge after irate villagers set afire a police van at Kanjara Munda Sahi near National Highway-55 in Angul district on Sunday evening.
According to sources, people of Tainsi village of Satkosia Wildlife Sanctuary had staged a blockade on the highway in the afternoon after an elderly man was allegedly mauled to death by the Royal Bengal tigress Sundari.
Following information, a team of police force led by the senior district officials rushed to the spot to pacify the villagers.
As soon as the police team arrived at the spot, the irate villagers pelted stones and set a police van on fire. As the situation went out control, police fired tear gas and later resorted to lathi-charge to disperse the villagers.
Angul sub-collector, local tehsildar and Angul IIC were injured in the attack. Vehicular traffic was disrupted for about three hours following the incident.
Police later cleared the road.
Meanwhile, acting on the directive of the Forest Department, a team of senior forest officials has left for Satkosia.
Reliable sources said that the forest officials would tranquillize the tigress and relocate it to other sanctuaries as she showed no sign of leaving the human settlements around the sanctuary.
Hours after Trinath Sahu (60) was allegedly mauled to death by Sundari, on the outskirts of Tainsi village in the Satkosia sanctuary in the early hours of Sunday, the irate villagers damaged the vehicle of the additional SP of Angul when he reached the village in the afternoon to rescue the forest staff.
The villagers had detained the additional conservator of forest (ACF) Srikant Behera and four other forest staff and manhandled them as they arrived at the village.
Following information, Angul SP, Mitrabhanu Mohapatra accompanied by Angul SDPO and an additional police force rushed to the village to take stock of the situation. Till reports last came in, a meeting was underway between the SP and the villagers at a school to restore normalcy.
Besides, the SP was in talks with senior forest officials, including the additional PCCF and field director of Satkosia sanctuary Sudarsan Panda and the in-charge DFO V Kartik, for an early and permanent solution to prevent the tigress from straying into human settlements.
The villagers have demanded adequate compensation to the family of the deceased and a government job to one of the family members, ensured livelihood to the people living inside and the periphery of the sanctuary and relocation of the Bengal tigress to other sanctuaries in the state.
As informed by the in-charge DFO earlier in the day, the tigress was located near Tainsi village through the VHF satellite. Raghunath Sahu, a reporter with a private news channel, was also attacked by the animal when he had gone to the spot to collect information about the incident. He was admitted to the Angul district headquarters hospital in a critical condition.
Notably, the Angul collector had a meeting with the representatives of Satkosia Khyatigrasta Praja Surakhya Samiti on October 9 in the presence of the SP. At the meeting, the collector had assured the Samiti members that they will be provided adequate protection.