Bandipora, Oct 17: Panic has gripped the residents of Hajin town in North Kashmir’s Bandipora district, where the presence of a leopard for the past four days has left the residents on edge.
Locals said that the leopard was initially sighted at Mir Mohalla near Masjid Khudam in Hajin area. Subsequently, it was also seen in adjoining localities, including Baghat Mohalla, Bonikhan, and Shukrindan Mohalla of Hajin town.
“This elusive leopard has ventured into several residential areas like Baharabad, Sumbal, and Nesbal, causing widespread panic among the inhabitants,” they said, adding that this evening the leopard attacked and injured Gulzar Ahmad Ganie, a carpenter from Taingpora Pattan in Baramulla. He was swiftly taken to CHC Hospital Sumbal, where he is now in stable condition.
“Children and elders have been living in fear for several days now. Leopards have created chaos in our town,” expressed Abdul Hamid, an elderly resident of Sumbal.
“No one dares to leave their homes in the evening, and we keep our children indoors during the day. Incidents like these occur from time to time, and it seems the administration is powerless to intervene,” he added.
“We are even afraid to send our young children to school due to this fear. Our only hope is that it is either captured or eliminated soon,” Mushtaq Ahmad, another local said.
Officials have advised people not to venture into fields alone but to move in groups for safety. They are making every effort to capture or eliminate the man-eating animal, with the cooperation of the common people being essential for the safety of all.
Equipped with tranquilizer guns and nets, teams from the Department of Wildlife Protection and forest protection are conducting extensive searches for the leopard in Hajin. The Range Officer in Bandipora confirmed their ongoing efforts to capture the leopards. They have set up cages in the affected area to aid in this mission.
The operation is being conducted under the guidance of Range Officer Bandipora, Fida Hussain, and the Forest Protection Force in-charge, Shakeel Ahmad.
It is worth noting that the leopard had previously killed 14 sheep and left several others injured in the Khumina Hajin area of Bandipora district. Furthermore, in August, a seven-year-old boy fell victim to a leopard in the Nesbal area of north Kashmir’s Bandipora district.