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For compensation, Indian villagers send elderly to forest as tiger prey

PILIBHIT: An Indian village in Uttar Pradesh is witnessing a bizarre trend that villagers have adopted to seek government money.

It’s happening near the village bordering Pilibhit Tiger Reserve where authorities suspect local families are sending older members into the forest as tiger prey, and their bodies then relocated to fields, to feign attacks and claim lakhs in compensation from the government, reported the Times of India.

Villagers aren’t entitled to compensation if their kin die in the reserve so they are taking to this weird tactic.

There has been a string of recent fatal tiger attacks on the elderly, with seven deaths reported in the proximity of the Mala forest range alone since February 16.

Kalim Athar of the Wildlife Crime Control Bureau (WCCB), a central government agency, arrived at the conclusion while examining tiger attacks in the area. Athar examined tiger attacks in the vicinity of PTR, looked into individual cases, the location of the bodies, and the accounts of locals. His report has been submitted to the WCCB brass. “Bureau authorities have decided to refer the matter to the National Tiger Conservation Authority for further action,” Athar told TOI.

Locals, however, say family elders were willing participants in the whole affair. “They think that since they can’t get resources from the forest, this is the only way their families can escape poverty,” farmer Jarnail Singh, 60, told TOI.

On July 1, it was alleged that a 55-year-old woman had been killed by a tiger in her field. On Monday, conservator of forests V K Singh inspected the site, and dismissed the claim. Instead, he said it was evident from the woman’s clothes, found elsewhere, and tractor treads leading into and out of a forest nearby, that she died 1.5km inside the forest, and her body was relocated.

VIDEO: Tiger attacks an Indian village

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