RANCHI: The forest department may have failed to trace a tiger in Bundu forest, around 35 km from here, but Maoists have not only found the animal but one of them has even become its victim.
The rebel reached so close to the tiger that he fell prey to it. This was confirmed by self-styled Maoist zonal commander Kundan Pahan in his letter to the fellow comrades.
A handwritten letter of the Maoist, who features in the Union home ministry’s wanted list and is the commander of South Chhotanagpur zonal committee, has regretted the death of the cadre by the tiger. In the letter, which is addressed to one Pragti Da, Kundan has regretted the loss of the aide because of the animal.
“A friend was killed and eaten by a tiger recently. It is a huge loss and a cause of great concern. I am just briefing you about the incident. I will tell you more when we meet,” the letter read.
The letter (a copy of which is with TOI) was seized from Ram Mohan Singh Munda, a close aide of Pahan who was arrested from Tamar block on Saturday.
In the letter, Pahan has asked Pragti Da to help organize training camps in the forests of Ulidih in Ranchi and in Khunti districts. The camps are to be organized on June 30 and November 15 respectively.
Ranchi SSP Saket Kumar Singh said, “The guerrillas and the tigers become dependents on a few ponds for water in summer because many ponds have dried up. The Maoist, who was eaten up by the tiger, may have been caught unaware and fell prey.”
Ranchi SP (rural) A V Minz, who has led several Maoist operations, said, “The rebels generally live near water bodies in the summer.”
A senior IPS officer said in summer, the guerrillas restricted their movements and preferred to remain static at a place for long. “As summer days are exhausting for the guerrillas they feel sleepier. In deep jungles, especially when they feel relaxed, the guerrillas keep their arms in camps or hang them in trees. This Maoist (killed by the tiger) may have been caught by the tiger in a similar condition,” he added.
National Tiger Conservation Authority member (monitoring wing) and Jharkhand’s tiger man D S Srivastava said tigers prefer to wander during summer.
“Apart from the Palamau Tiger Reserve area, tigers have been wandering throughout Jharkhand. Tigers have been sighted in Hazaribagh, Latehar, and Koderma as well in the past. I am sure that if the state forest department really makes efforts to track tigers, they will find it not only in Bundu but other places as well,” said Srivastava.