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Gujarat: Leopard attacks 11-year-old during Girnar pilgrimage

According to Junagadh district collector Anil Ranavasiya, the girl was killed when she was nearly 200 meters away from the designated route.According to Junagadh district collector Anil Ranavasiya, the girl was killed when she was nearly 200 meters away from the designated route.

Hritika Mitra Edited By: Hritika Mitra @MitraHritika Ahmedabad Published on: November 25, 2023 17:58 IST
Gujarat: Leopard attacks 11-year-old during Girnar
Image Source : FILE Gujarat: Leopard attacks 11-year-old during Girnar pilgrimage

In a tragic incident, an 11-year-old girl was mauled to death by a leopard inside a wildlife sanctuary during the 'Girnar Parikrama', a religious pilgrimage around the Girnar mountain in Gujarat's Junagadh district in the early hours of Friday, forest department officials said. This was the first instance when a wild animal has killed a human being during the annual pilgrimage, also known as 'Lili Parikrama', said Chief Conservator of Forest, Junagadh, K Ramesh.

Following the incident, which took place at around 6 am near Bordevi inside the Girnar Wildlife Sanctuary located on Junagadh city's outskirts, the forest department set up cages in the area and trapped the leopard in the evening, said Deputy Conservator of Forest, Junagadh division, Akshay Joshi. The girl, identified as Payal Sankhat (11), was a resident of Victor village of neighbouring Amreli district and had come to perform the parikrama (circumambulation of a sacred place) with her family.

"Since the entire route of the pilgrimage falls inside the sanctuary, people conducting the five-day- long pilgrimage are instructed to remain on the designated path and not to stray from it. The girl was attacked and killed by a leopard when she was attending nature's call some distance away from the route on early Friday morning," said Ramesh.

According to Junagadh district collector Anil Ranavasiya, the girl was killed when she was nearly 200 meters away from the designated route. Upon learning about the death of the girl hailing from his assembly constituency, BJP MLA from Rajula in Amreli district, Hira Solanki, held a telephonic talk with state Forest Minister Mulubhai Bera and urged him to pay compensation to the grieving family at the earliest.

The ruling party legislator urged the minister to make necessary arrangements to ensure such incidents do not occur again. The Girnar Parikrama is organised every year on the occasion of Dev Diwali. This year, the pilgrimage, in which devotees circle the Girnar mountain, started on November 23 and will end on November 27. It is estimated that nearly 12 lakh devotees will take part in this year's parikrama by walking on the 36-km-long route inside the forest.

(with PTI inputs)

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