Following a spate of attack on local villagers by wild beasts, apparently panthers, a family in Rajasthan’s Alwar district has issued an advisory on the wedding card of its two daughters: “Beware of cheetah”.
Kana and Krishna Kanwar are scheduled to marry Narendra Singh and Mahendra Singh, respectively, who hail from a neighbouring village, on November 11. Their wedding card, which has all the usual details, stands out because of the warning.
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“A few schoolchildren had found the gored body of Rewar Mal, a resident of our village, more than a month ago. The body was half-eaten,” said Amar Singh, 25, brother of Kana and Krishna, and a resident of Khatala village in Thanagazi tehsil of Alwar.
Assistant Conservator of Forests, Alwar, Rajeev Lochan Pathak also said, “We have recorded three instances of panther attack in the past few weeks.”
Singh said sometimes people get drunk and create ruckus at weddings and other guests remember that for long. “We did not want guests to remember the weddings in our family for any mishap. So we advised guests accordingly,” he said.
He said the baraat (groom’s procession) has thus been scheduled to arrive latest by 4 pm on November 11. “By 6 pm, we hope to finish the vidaai (send-off of the bride) ceremony,” Singh said.
Forest officials said they have caught two panthers in recent days and there is no need to worry.
“We caught a panther on October 13 and another on November 3,” Pathak said, adding that encroachments in Aravalli forests had led to a rise in attacks by wild animals, mainly panthers and hyenas.
Doubting the forest officials’ claim, Ram Singh (35), another sibling of the sisters, said, “We have not known them to be so active. Who knows whether the ‘catches’ were genuine.”
Their father Mohan Singh (65) said, “There have been six or seven cases in the last couple of months but they record it only when someone dies or is grievously injured.” As for the mention of “cheetah” in the wedding invitation, he said all big cats in and around the village are referred to as “cheetah”.