Mob goes on rampage after local suffers injury

Kendrapara: Agitated over injury to a local woman, a mob went on rampage and vandalized the solar-powered fencing near Talchua village on the fringes of Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary in Kendrapara district. The acts of vandalism, according to forest officials, took place on Friday. The mob perpetrated extensive damage to the solar-powered barrier that was put in place by state forest department to curb the intrusion of wild animals into places of human habitations.

A local woman, Mamata Bera (38), had made unauthorized entry to the prohibited National park area to collect forest produce. She came in contact with the live solar fencing while sneaking through the barrier and sustained minor injury due to pulsating effect of the solar power, forest officials said. The incident provoked local residents to take law unto their hands. Instigated by local Sarpanch, angry locals vandalized the fencing barrier. About 100 m of fencing has suffered extensive damage, Manoj Mahapatra, DFO, Rajnagar Mangrove (wildlife) Forest Division, said.

The acts of ransacking by the mob were unwarranted as the barrier has been installed to stop animals intrusion into the village areas. As wild animals like spotted deer and wild boars were found damaging crop and vegetable cultivation, the barrier was put for the interest of people living on the fringes of the national park, Mahapatra said.

On the basis of complaint lodged by forest personnel, police have registered cases under prevention of damage to public property act, 1984 besides section-425, IPC (wrongful loss or damage to the public property) have been registered. A separate case was also registered under the provisions of wildlife protection act, 1972. No arrest has been made in this connection as all accused persons have fled from the village.

Search is on to arrest them shortly, Ramachandra Goud, Sub Divisional Police Officer, Pattamundai, said. The solar fencing project to ward off animals from straying into villages in close proximity of Bhitarkanika wildlife sanctuary?was installed on January 2011.