Forest personnel shoot 25-year-old 'poacher' dead in Kanakapura

He went in search of stray goats: victim's family

Forest personnel shoot 25-year-old 'poacher' dead in Kanakapura

A 25-year-old suspected poacher was shot dead by forest personnel on the fringes of the reserve forest in Kanakapura, Ramanagaram district, in the early hours of Thursday.

The deceased, identified as Ravi Siddaiah, was a resident of Doddalahalli in Kanakapura taluk. As the news of the death spread in the village early morning, men gathered near Bendagudu checkpost and set fire to a seized autorickshaw and vandalised the property of the forest office there.

According to police, Siddaiah was found moving suspiciously inside the forest with three to five others at Uyyamballi in Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, off Kanakapura Road in Sathanur, around 1 am.

Forest guards who spotted them ordered them to surrender. Instead, one of the men opened fire, prompting the guards to fire in retaliation, killing Siddaiah on the spot. The others managed to escape.

Senior police officers visited the spot to bring the situation under control.
The victim’s family members have lodged a complaint with the Sathanur police, saying the men had gone in search of their goats which strayed into the forest. Forest guards mistook them for poachers and fired at them, they said.

Ramesh Kumar, deputy conservator of forests, Cauvery Wildlife Sanctuary, told DH that a group of six people entered the forest at night and killed a spotted deer and a porcupine. The group then set out to hunt a wild boar.

One of the watchers alerted the others. A team of 16 personnel then started combing the area and spotted the carcass of the deer. They also caught a poacher. One of the other poachers opened fire on the forest personnel.

In retaliation, the forest staffers too opened fire, killing Siddaiah around 1.30 am, he said. “We have booked a case under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972. A complaint is also lodged with the police as per procedure,” he said.

The forest is spread across 1,027 sq km. It has 48 anti-poaching camps. The area where the incident occurred is close to the Uyyamballi Sangam wildlife range, 25 km from Mekedatu. The area is frequented by elephants.

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