BUDGAM — Body of a 4-year-old girl, who went missing from her residence in Ompora Housing Colony in central Kashmir’s Budgam district on Thursday evening was found in a nearby forest nursery after allegedly mauled to death by a leopard, police said.

A police official said that one 4-year-old girl identified as Adha Mir, a resident of Housing Colony in Ompora area of Budgam, was taken by a leopard while playing in the lawns of her house.

He said that after receiving the information, police, Wildlife teams, Army along with locals swung into action and launched massive searches to trace out the missing girl, adding that the body of the girl was traced in a nearby area (nursery) on Friday morning.

However, locals said that the big cats have been frequently spotted in the area of late. With officials blaming the Forest Department nursery, they say it acts as a safe haven for the animals.

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Meanwhile, Deputy Commissioner Budgam, Shahbaz Mirza, in an emergency meeting with officials have suspended a Range Officer for Wildlife Department in Ompora Budgam identified as Suhail Qazi for dereliction of duties and Additional Commissioner Budgam has been appointed the inquiry officer.

The further decisions which were taken by administration in the meeting: DFO, PP Division Budgam will ensure immediate removal of fallen material and other cultural operations at Ompora forests and other risk areas forthwith in order to avoid any further loss of life and property in the area; Commissioner Secretary to Government, Forest Ecology and Environmental J&K has assured sanction within two days.

DFO, PP Division Budgam will immediately take steps for erection and strengthening of existing chain-link fencing at Ompora forests and will also submit DPR to the higher authorities for sanction of funds. He will also process the proposal/case for sanction of thinning of the forest immediately; Wildlife Warden Budgam will deploy staff, well-equipped with machinery, for elimination of the wild animal (leopard) which has turned man-eater after obtaining sanction from the competent authority.

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Besides, Wildlife staff will be deputed in the periphery of the Ompora forests for patrolling and awareness among the general public regarding roaming of the leopard in the area. They will take immediate steps for capturing the roaming animal in the forests. Any laxity on this score shall be dealt with strictly, the administration said.

Wildlife Warden Budgam will immediately prepare a compensation case of 4-year-old girl who was mauled to death by a leopard on 03-06-2021 and get the case sanctioned from competent authority within three days positively, so that necessary compensation is paid to the family of the deceased was among the decisions taken by the administration in a meeting.

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