Tension prevailed along the Tamil Nadu-Karnataka border near Salem on Saturday after an alleged poacher from a Tamil Nadu village was shot dead by Karnataka forest officers.
More than 1,000 people from the border villages in Tamil Nadu attacked the Palar checkpost and the office of the forest range officer of Gopinathapuram division in Karnataka on Friday after the decomposed body of Palani (42), from Govindapadi village, was found near the banks of Cauvery.
Villagers, who ransacked the Karnataka forest office, denied that Palani was a poacher. They alleged that he was tortured and killed by the forest officials. They said his private parts and a hand had been chopped off.
Karnataka officials, however, said there was a shootout in the forest range of M M Hills, which was once the hideout of sandalwood smuggler Veerappan. They said Palani and two of his aides, Raju and Muthuswamy, had sneaked into the forest area and killed two deer. “The shootout took place in the early hours of Wednesday when the forest guards on patrol came across the poachers. The forest guards retaliated after Palani and his aides refused to surrender and fired at them,” said a senior forest official.