Fisherman saved from tiger’s jaws
31 Jan 2009, 0353 hrs IST, Prithvijit Mitra, TNN
KOLKATA: When Joydeb Halder and his six companions were rolling in their fishing nets after a tiring day at Sujjimoni Char in Sundebans on Thursday, they had no idea that danger was lurking less than 20 feet away in a bush. A Bengal tiger had been stalking the group, waiting to pounce for the kill. In a flash it was on to Joydeb and had its jaw firmly locked around the fisherman’s head.
Most of his friends were rooted in horror as the tiger started dragging Joydeb into the forest. His brother Rabiram shook off the fear and jumped to the rescue with a stick. The rest followed. They managed to chase away the animal but not before it had mauled Joydeb. Chunks of flesh had been torn off his right cheek, shoulders and the back of his head.
Bleeding and losing consciousness, Joydeb was brought to SSKM Hospital early Friday morning. Doctors managed to save his life but he is still too weak and terror-struck to speak.
Rabiram said they, too, were yet to recover from the shock. The group had left Gopalganj in Kultali on two boats to fish deep inside the forest area. “None of us had ever encountered a tiger before. We should have been more careful because several of our neighbouring villages have been raided by tigers in recent months. It is clear that something is wrong either with the forest or with tigers,” said Sukdeb Halder, Joydeb’s elder brother.
“We were in knee-deep water, pulling back our nets. It was getting dark. None of us had noticed the tiger which had crept into a nearby bush. By the time we sensed it, the huge animal had already gripped Joydeb’s neck and was trying to drag him away. Luckily, we managed to save him,” said Rabiram.
Joydeb’s condition is stable but his injuries will take a long time to heal, said doctors at SSKM.