MADIKERI/KASARGOD: A suspected poacher from Kasargod was shot dead allegedly by another hunting group inside a reserve forest in Kodagu, said the police and forest officials.
The deceased has been identified as George Anikkal, 50, of Thayeni in East Eleri grama panchayat of Kasargod.
According to Bhagamandala police in Karnataka, George and his two friends Ashoka and Chandran -- all residents of Thayeni -- were deep inside the Mundrote forest range of Kodagu on Tuesday evening. Officers, who questioned Chandran and Ashoka, said the trio was out hunting Indian pangolins inside the forest. But the poachers from Kasargod came under fire from another hunting team, and George, who was walking behind Chandran and Ashoka, was hit by two bullets, they said.
"George got hit on the right side of the chest and shoulder killing him on the spot," said Madikeri rural inspector Siddaiaih.
The Bhagamandala police were questioning Ashoka and Chandran. "The motive of the crime is not known yet," he said. It could be a misfire or the other hunting group might have mistaken George for a wild animal, said Bhagamandala sub-inspector Venkataramana.
The Bhagamandala police said they were yet to identify the group which shot George. No weapon was found at the scene of the crime, he said.
The incident came to light when Ashoka and Chandran fled home and informed the Chittarikal police. The Bhagamandala police were informed in the early hours of Wednesday and the body was recovered in the morning.
"We have sent the body for postmortem at Pariyaram Medical College," said Venkataramana.
An officer of Kasargod police who visited the scene of the crime in the forest said the rounds were fired from a country-made gun.
George had worked as a timber worker at Odakkoli on Kerala border. The place where
he was killed was 5 km from Odakoli, said an officer. George is survived by wife Sofi George, mother Minikutty, and three sons.