Garden worker fights off leopard

Jaigaon, Feb. 8: A worker in Carron Tea Estate was attacked by a leopard while cutting grass, but managed to fight the animal off with his sickle.

Both the man and the beast suffered severe injuries. While the injured garden worker was admitted to hospital, the animal melted into the adjacent Diana forest.

Around 12 noon, 22-year-old Ajay Asur had gone out to cut grass for his cows with a gunny bag and a sickle. Two hours later, the leopard attacked him from behind while he was working in Section 17 of the garden, 65km from here.

Ajay hit the head of the leopard with the sickle. The leopard left him for a moment but attacked him again from the front. The fight continued for more than 10 minutes.

But then, Ajay had hit the animal on its eye. It fled into the forest, leaving its prey in the garden.

Ajay walked over 500 metre to reach the garden hospital. When he came to the main road, about 300 metres from the spot where he was attacked, he met Dipak Asur and Sania Proja, two garden workers who helped him reach the hospital.

“It was a horrible sight. Blood was oozing out from all over his body. He had been badly mauled and he was groaning in pain,” said Kandra Oraon, another worker.

Dr S. Debnath, who examined Ajay, said he had to be given stitches. There were deep wounds below his left eye, behind the right ear, on the forehead and different parts of the body.

“The patient’s condition is critical and he has been referred to the government hospital,” Dr Debnath said.

The assistant manager of the tea garden, P. Bhadra, said this was not the first time that a leopard had strayed into the garden. He alleged that requests to the forest department to drive away the animal from near the garden had gone unheeded.

“In the past few days, it has taken away poultry. But this was the first time that it attacked a man,” said Bhadra.

The ranger of Khunia wildlife wing, Nitendranath Saha, said there was “nothing unusual” in a leopard straying into a garden from adjacent forests.

“We shall have to keep watch on the animal. We have to keep the leopard under watch,” the ranger said.