Sidhi: A mother loves and protects her child like no one. The saying was proved true by a feisty tribal woman from a Madhya Pradesh village who displayed immense courage and saved her son from the claws of a leopard while fighting valiantly with the carnivore.

Despite her son being suddently taken away by the leopard, the woman did not lose her presence of mind as she confined her other children inside their hut and rushed towards a forest in the direction where the feline had taken away her son.

The child was wounded and the woman also suffered injuries when the leopard attacked her, but she managed to come back alive with her son, an act of strength and grit which was hailed by the forest department staff and Chief Minister Shivraj Singh Chouhan.

CM Chouhan in a tweet on Tuesday lauded the woman’s courageous act.

The incident took place on Sunday night in Badi Jharia village, in the buffer zone of the Sanjay Tiger Reserve in Madhya Pradesh’s Sidhi district, located over 500 km from state capital Bhopal.

Kiran, a Baiga tribe woman, was sitting beside a fire pit with her three children to keep them warm outside their hut. Suddenly, a leopard appeared and, in a split second, caught hold of her son Rahul with its jaws and ran away, a senior forest official said on Wednesday.

The woman was shocked by the sudden turn of events, but kept her cool. She made her other two children stay inside the hut and immediately ran towards the forest where she saw the leopard taking away with her son, the tiger reserve’s director, Y P Singh, said.

She chased the leopard for about a kilometre, but the big cat took cover in the bushes and then held the child with its claws. Kiran also did not relent. She kept trying to scare away the leopard with a stick and also raised an alarm, the official said.

“The leopard probably got scared and left the child. While Kiran immediately took her son in her arms, the feline attacked her. However, she overpowered the big cat with her valour,” the official said.

In the meantime, other villagers also reached the spot on hearing Kiran’s call for help and the leopard then disappeared into the forest, he said. The boy received injuries on his back, cheeks and eyes, and his mother also got wounded in the attack, the official said.

Buffer zone ranger Aseem Bhuria later got them admitted to a primary health centre and provided an immediate assistance of Rs 1,000. The forest department will bear all the expenses of their treatment, the official added.

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