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Tiger drags off fisherman

Calcutta, Jan. 10: A tiger pounced on a 60-year-old fisherman in the Sunderbans and dragged him into the forest last evening when he was returning home with his catch with four other fishermen on a boat.

Gouranga Das, from the village of Basanti, was at the rear of the boat on the Matla when the Royal Bengal tiger jumped on him.

“We were about to return after fishing in the Matla. Gouranga was sitting at the rear of the boat. All of a sudden, a tiger pounced on him and dragged him into the jungle before we could realise what had happened,” said 52-year-old Dhiraj Sardar, who was in the boat.

“We got off and chased the animal with bamboo sticks but it was of no use. It was dark and we had to come back,” Dhiraj said.

“Gouranga had been fishing in the Matla since childhood. I cannot believe he was taken away by a tiger.”

The four fishermen informed Gouranga’s family in Basanti, about 210km from Calcutta, this morning and then alerted the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve in Canning.

A search party left for the jungle but Gouranga’s body is yet to be found.

Subrata Mukherjee, field director of the Sunderbans Tiger Reserve, said Gouranga’s family would get a compensation of Rs 1 lakh only if they furnish the valid passes to prove he had permission to fish in the forest core area. “We have asked the other fishermen who had accompanied Gouranga to also appear before us with their passes. If the victim had permission from the forest department then the kin will get compensation of Rs 1 lakh.”

Seven persons were either killed or taken away by tigers in the Sunderbans last year.

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