Odisha Forest Minister Bijayshree Routray on Friday said that no decision has been taken on returning a tigress, which had allegedly killed a woman, from Satkosia to its home state of Madhya Pradesh.
The minister’s statement came a day after high-level sources in the Angul district administration told The Indian Express that the tigress would be sent back following allegations that it had killed a local resident.
“The decision to move the tigress is the discretion of the Wildlife Institute of India,” Routray said, adding that the Uttarakhand-based autonomous body under the Union Environment Ministry had not taken any decision on the matter.
“As per the forest department, the injuries on the deceased’s body are not consistent with tiger attacks. Also, the tigress would not have abandoned her kill,” she said. Disapproving of the “violence” unleashed by local residents following the death, Routray said, “We do not like it. This will not be tolerated.”
The deceased, identified as Kailashi Garnayak of Hatibari village in Tikarpara range under Angul district, went missing when she went to bathe in a pond on Wednesday. A local search party discovered the body, which allegedly had injuries made by the tigress.
The death triggered a law and order situation in Hatibari and surrounding villages till Thursday afternoon, with hundreds blocking all routes to Satkosia. They beat up forest officials, and set fire to buildings owned by the forest department and five boats in the area.
On Thursday, sources in the district administration told The Indian Express that the tigress would be returned to Madhya Pradesh, and that the family of the deceased was entitled to Rs 4 lakh as compensation from the forest department. The district administration also handed her husband Rs 20,000 from the local Red Cross fund.
Angul administration officials were not available to comment on the minister’s statements. The woman’s postmortem results have also not been declared.
Local residents have given the forest department till September 15 to deport the tigress, failing which they have warned of a major protest.