Darjeeling, Jan. 11: The body of a man, with flesh torn away from several parts, was found barely a kilometre from the Mall, raising suspicion that a leopard had mauled him.
“The body of Chengba Sherpa was found on Lower Toongsoong Road this morning. The deceased is a resident of Jawahar Busty and we suspect he was mauled by a leopard,” said Kunal Aggarwal, the Darjeeling superintendent of police. About half a kilometre from where 47-year-old Chengba’s body was found is a forested area.
Lower Toongsoong is not an area where tourists stay, but holidaymakers do stay barely a 10-minute walk away from where Sherpa’s body was found. The Mall, which is the Darjeeling tourist’s favourite spot, is close to Toongsoong Road.
According to Pete Bhutia, the wife of the deceased, Chengba, who did odd jobs for a living, had been coming home early after a murder in the area. “In the same area where his body was found, there had been a murder recently. After the murder, Chengba used to return home early. He did not come home last night. My 15-year-old daughter and I waited for him. There was no electricity in the area last night,” she said.
Pete had a shop on Nehru Road here but was recently evicted by the civic body as it was an illegal structure.
“Around 4.30am, we came to know that a body was lying on the road and the villagers recognised it as my husband’s,” Pete said. Local people out for their morning stroll and drivers of trucks that ferry drinking water to various parts of the town first saw the body.
“I was going for an early morning jog when truck drivers passing by said there was a body lying on the road a little further down,” said S. Pradhan, a resident of the area.
A part of the left thigh, portions of the palms, chest and abdomen seems to have been ripped apart. The body also seemed to have been dragged for about 50ft. Foresters, suspect a leopard attacked Chengba.
“We have found pugmarks a few meters away from the site where the body was found. The pugmark is rectangular in shape, which suggests that it could be an adult female leopard that might have attacked the man. The victim seems to have been attacked on the head which is how a leopard strikes,” said R.C. Roy, assistant divisional forest officer, wildlife I. The foresters have decided to set up a camp to capture the leopard.
New in zoo
Three Satyr Tragopan and six Temminck Tragopan will be arriving in Darjeeling tomorrow from Glasglow, Scotland. A.K. Jha, the director of Padmaja Naidu Himalayan Zoological Park, said: “The Tragopans will be quarantined for a month at Dow Hill (peasantry) in Kurseong. After a month, we will probably keep a pair of the tragapons for public viewing.”