BHOPAL/HOSHANGABAD: A tiger mauled a woman at Mehendikheda village near Matkuli in Hoshangabad district, on Friday, triggering intense protest by villagers who ransacked and torched a portion of the forest department’s Eco-Centre demanding shifting of the big cat. Matkuli is adjacent to Satupura Tiger Reserve.

Irate villagers reached Matkuli trisection and held a road blockade, cutting down the traffic to tourist destination of Pachmarhi and Chhindwara from Bhopal. Raising slogans against Satpura Tiger Reserve administration, the angry villagers demanded authorities to immediately trace the tiger and shift it out. The locals alleged that a tiger recently shifted from Bandhavgarh in Umaria was responsible for the death of the woman.

Kushmaria Bai, 45, was at her agriculture field in morning when tiger attacked her. Her mutilated body was recovered from Matkuli forest area. A day earlier, the big cat had mauled cows.

The forest department had made public announcements regarding movement of tiger in the area after two cows were killed on Thursday. However, when the woman was killed on Friday, the villagers got enraged and vandalised and burnt down a part of the eco centre and blocked Pachmarhi-Chhindwara-Bhopal road.

SHO (Piparia) Satish Andman said, “The villagers are of the opinion that the tiger is the one that has been recently shifted from Bandhavgarh National Park and released in Satpura Tiger Reserve. The situation was brought under control in Mehendikheda after forest officials held the villagers. Two cows had been killed by a tiger on Thursday morning in nearby Pisua village. The woman's body has been handed over to family members after postmortem.”

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