8 Jul 2007, 0159 hrs IST,TNN
CHANDRAPUR: Ankita Sahu would have turned four on Saturday. However, her family was left mourning on her birthday eve as the girl was killed by a leopard outside their home right within the residential quarters of Ordnance Factory here. The incident took place around 7.30 pm in the quarters which are in close proximity to the forest.
Ankita was playing outside her home while her mother was chatting with the neighbour when a leopard pounced on Ankita from the back and dragged her away. Hearing the frantic cries of Ankita's mother, a crowd gathered and chased the leopard, which left the bleeding child and fled. The girl was taken to the Ordnance Factory hospital in the campus where she was declared dead on arrival. Ankita's father is a security personnel in the factory.
Though spotting big cats is nothing new to the OF personnel, it is for the first time such an incident has taken place, residents say. OF is spread in over 2000 acres which includes the factory as well as the residential quarters. The entire area is thickly vegetated and the forest boundary is around a couple of kilometres away. As a result, big cats have been straying into the area several times and there have been instances that the beasts are trapped with the help of the forest department. A leopard was caged six months ago too, said a source.
"In fact, it has been a routine to lay a cage whenever a leopard was found in the premises. But it was not expected that any beast would stray so close to human inhabitation. The security measures will have to be beefed up now," said a factory worker.