The victims identified as Magu did not return home from work on Friday evening. He would usually return home by 7 pm. in the evening every day. His relatives and co-workers then launched a search for him in various places in the nearby area. They searched for him throughout the night and during the early hours on Saturday and finally found Magu’s decapitated body near the tea estate, where he worked.
On information from locals, police and fire and rescue personnel reached the spot, retrieved the body and sent it for post mortem. Pug marks found in a slushy area at the site and teeth marks on Magu’s neck indicated that he was attacked by a tiger, police said.
The incident has sparked a fear in the villagers that the tigers would strike again. They claimed the animal was still on the prowl and requested forest officials to increase patrols in the area. They claimed that the only solution was to put the cat down.
Agitated locals blamed forest officials for not finding a permanent solution to the man-animal conflict in the area. They claimed that a woman was mauled to death by a tiger some time back in the same area. Forest officials shot the animal dead after an arduous battle.
In 2014 also, three persons near Gudalur were killed by a big cat which was subsequently killed by forest personnel after several days of surveillance and a final showdown. Villagers and leaders of all political parties will hold a meeting later to discuss the future course of action in this regard, they said.