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Bison raid town

Alipurduar. March 20: Two bison entered Alipurduar town today and spread panic for nearly five hours, forcing traders to shut their shops and schools to cancel classes and bringing traffic to a halt.

One forester was injured while he was trying to dart the bison.

According to a forest source, four bison from the Buxa Tiger Reserve were spotted at Bairaguri, 5km from here, at 6am. Two of the bison crossed the Garam river and entered Alipurduar town, while the others stayed back.

Local people started running after seeing the two bison and informed the foresters who arrived around 7am.

More than 1,000 people had gathered to catch a glimpse of the animals and started chasing the bison. They started throwing stones at the bison which prompted the animals to run aimlessly. Police were also called but they failed to control the crowd.

The two bison soon ran in different directions. One went towards Aurobindonagar in the town and hid behind a bamboo bush. The second one ran from ward 1 to the adjacent ward 18 and rampaged through a local market causing damage. It finally took refuge near a house.

Around 10am, the foresters managed to dart a bison which fell in a wetland. Two men were hiding in the wetland and the animal picked up one of them by the horns and threw him on the ground. The second bison was darted at Aurobindonagar around 11am .

Apurbo Sen, the deputy field director of BTR (west), said: “We were tense as the animals had entered the town. Our major hurdle was the huge crowd.”

The third bison was also tranquillised, while the fourth one escaped to Paro forest, around 10km from here.