Manhunt launched after tiger killing in Chhattisgarh

Raipur, Dec 21 (IANS) After a headless tiger carcass was found in Kawardha district of Chhattisgarh, state police have formed several squads to arrest the poachers, an official said Tuesday.

The killing was reported from Amnia village, a forested zone under Kawardha, the home district of Chief Minister Raman Singh. The forest department has suspended two local forest officers and ordered an enquiry.

The forest department has also asked its senior officer Rakesh Chaturvedi to rush to the site, about 300 km from Raipur, to investigate the tiger kiling.

‘Yes, a decomposed body of a tiger was found in Amnia village in Kawardha’s Pandaria block. Prima facie it looks the tiger was killed by a poacher several days or may be weeks earlier,’ Chaturvedi told IANS on phone.

The forest department has lodged a complaint of tiger’s killing with police in Kawardha district. ‘We are dealing the case with utmost seriousness and urgency, we are interrogating a few villagers to apprehend the poachers or anyone who hunted down the tiger,’ said H.S. Rathore, Kawardha district police chief.

An official source here at the forest department headquarters said that a few officials tried to cover up the tiger’s killing by projecting it as a case of death. But when enough evidences emerged about the tiger’s death, they suspended the two local forest staff – a deputy ranger and a forest beat guard – and decided to order an enquiry.

The source added that poachers have easy access to the state’s vast forested areas, including all the three Project Tiger reserves of Indravati, Udanti-Sitanadi and Achanakmar. A total of 219 posts of the sanctioned 420 lie vacant at the reserves.

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