SALEM/MYSORE: Contrasting claims by Karnataka Forest personnel and local Tamil villagers over the actual purpose of five villagers from the bordering areas entering the forests on Wednesday night that eventually led to the opening of fire on them has stirred a controversy.
While the villagers claimed that the five, including Palani whose mutilated body was found in the Cauvery backwaters on Friday, had gone to the forest for fishing, the Karnataka Forest officials have claimed that the villagers were poachers. Karnataka Divisional Forest Officer Javed Mumtaz, who visited the Palar check post and range office that came under attack from angry Tamil Nadu villagers, claimed that Palani and his associates were booked three days ago for killing two deer. “When our men pursued them, they opened fire at them. Hence our personnel had to fire back,” he claimed.
MM Hills Wildlife Sanctuary Ranger Hanmanthaiya said the incident occurred in the adjacent Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary limits where forest personnel have standing firing orders for self-defence.
For the present, MM Hills Inspector Marisidha Shetty said cases were registered against Karnataka Forest personnel on a complaint from Palani’s wife Shantha. Since it was a firing incident, a magisterial inquiry will also be conducted.