Six people were injured after a leopard entered a residential area in Mulund (east) and attacked the local people on Saturday. The animal was tranquillised and captured after a three-hour operation. The leopard attacked six residents of Nanipada area in Mulund. The residents alleged that the leopard was first seen at Jai Hind Colony around 5am, following which it went in the direction of Babuwadi area. Eventually, the leopard entered Nanipada and attacked a resident, Suresh Basutkar.
“I saw the leopard while I was opening the door of the toilet, which is next to my house. After the leopard jumped on me, I just locked myself inside the toilet,” Basutkar said. He suffered bruises on his face and chest.
His wife Kavita said: “I heard the sound of an animal roaring, following which I went to the window and saw a leopard walking through my house. Instantly, it reminded me that my husband was outside so, I rushed to the toilet to check on him and found him there.”
The leopard then attacked Sunita Sonawane (35). She had been staying in a rented house and was saved by her landlord, Sharda Kadav as she reached the spot and raised the alarm.
A vegetable vendor, Kadav, said: “I was having tea and suddenly, I heard the sound of my tenant. As soon as I walked to the veranda, I saw that Sonawane was being attacked by a leopard and as I raised the alarm, the leopard looked at me and started following me. In a bid to escape, I entered my neighbour’s house while Sonawane entered mine.”
A 40-year-old labourer, Balaji Kamite, who was walking towards a washroom was also attacked by the leopard.
“I was going to answer nature’s call when a leopard came from an adjacent road and suddenly pounced on my face. He attacked me on the face but somehow I pushed it away and managed to save myself. I fled the spot, as the leopard went ahead,” said Kamite.
Kismata Palle (52) was attacked while she was going to buy milk for her family. “The leopard held her hand with the jaws. Luckily, my mother-in-law fell due to the impact and leopard opened the mouth, due to which she managed to escape,” said Palle’s son-in-law Ajay.
Another woman, Savita Kute, was also attacked and she sustained minor injuries.
The leopard also attacked a ground floor resident of Matruchaya apartment in Mulund (east). Ganesh Poojari was injured on the head.
Poojari said: “I was sleeping in my house when my 18-year-old son woke me up saying something has happened outside. As soon as I opened the door of my house to check, the leopard that was right outside, attacked me. But somehow, I ran outside the house, along with my son.”
However, one of the residents locked the door of the house from outside, trapping the leopard inside, following which the Navghar police station was informed. A police team was sent to the spot and simultaneously, forest officials were also informed.
The Deputy Commissioner of Police (zone VII), Akhilesh Kumar, said: “By 8.15, we were informed by the local people, following which our team, along with the forest officials reached the spot. The leopard was rescued by 11.30am.”
Police said the leopard was rescued from Poojari’s residence after a three-hour operation. The injured people were rushed to a nearby hospital and released after initial medical aid.
“A leopard was spotted on the Eastern Express Highway just the day before. It is likely that it is the same leopard. It was first spotted around 7. We rescued it by around 11 after tranquillising it,” said Sunish Subramanian Kunju, the honorary wildlife warden, who was part of the rescue operations. The animal was taken to Sanjay Gandhi National Park (SGNP).
“We brought the animal to the park and will keep it under observation for a couple of days. We will then decide if it can be released in the wild. It is hard to say where it could have come from but it is most likely that the animal came from the SGNP,” said Jitendra Ramgaonkar, Chief Conservator of Forest, Thane.