A young farmer was killed after being hit by shotgun pellets fired by his uncle allegedly to scare away a herd of wild boars at his farm in Zinzuwada village in Patdi taluka of Surendrangar district on Monday.
Zinubha Zhala (65) fired his 12-bore shotgun after hearing a noise, suspecting it be of a heard of wild boars, in the shrubs forming the fence of his agricultural farm at around 3 am on Monday.
However, the shot hit his nephew, Yugrajsinh alias Lalbha Zala (22), who was irrigating their castor plantation and had also run in the direction of the noise to chase away the wild boars, police said.
“Yugrajsinh worked on Zinubha’s farm… both of them live on the farm itself. The duo was keeping vigil till around 3 am on Monday as herds of wild boars and blue bulls raid crops in the area. However, the uncle asked his nephew to go in to their cottage and catch up some sleep, stating he would stand guard rest of the night,” said a police officer of Zinzuwada police station on Tuesday.
“But instead of going to the cottage, Yugrajsinh thought of irrigating their castor plantation… Minutes later, Zinubha heard some noise on the edge of his farm. Suspecting it to be wild boars, Zinubha fired his shotgun in that direction, unawares that Yugrajsinh was chasing the herd. The shot hit Yugrajsinh,” the officer added.
Police said that Zinubha holds a licence to keep a firearm.
“When Yugrajsinh cried aloud, his uncle realised that his nephew was hit by the shot,” the police officer said.
According to police, the pellets hit Yugrajsinh on his neck and chest and he succumbed to the injuries while being taken to a hospital.
Based on a complaint filed by the victim’s father, Indubha, Zinzuvada police have booked Zinubha for murder. “We have detained the accused and have sent his samples for Covid-19 testing. If he tests negative, we shall formally arrest him,” the police officer said.
Zinzuvada is located on the edge of Little Rann of Kutch, which is habitat of wild ass, wild boars, blue bulls, etc. Farmers say these ungulates raid and damage their crops at night.
“This is a big problem for farmers. Everyone in the village is shocked at what has happened,” Bipinsinh Zala, sarpanch of Zinzuvada said, adding, “Lalbha was a very committed young man and was helping Zinubha cultivate the latter’s eight bigha land.”
The sarpanch said that Zinubha had sown wheat, alfalfa and castor on is farm as well as on 60 bigha other that he is cultivating as share-cropper.
In his complaint, Yugrajsinh’s father stated that his son was living with Zinubha for the past tree years and was working on his farm in Patdi village while the rest of the family were working as share-croppers on Nariyana village of neighbouring Dhrangadhra taluka.