(2 January 1996, India) A tiger killed one man and mauled another at the
Calcutta zoo yesterday when they tried to put a marigold garland around its
neck in a New Year's greeting.
Prakesh Tiwari, the dead man, and Suresh
Rai had been drinking before they bought the floral garlands and crossed
the moat around the tiger's enclosure, authorities said. "I was shocked to
see the two young men weaving about in front of a tiger with garlands in
their hands, " said Rakesh Banerjee, who witnessed the attack that
triggered panic and a near stampede in the zoo.
The men, both in their
20's, were trying to put the garland on a 13-year old male Royal Bengal
tiger named "Shiva" after the Hindu god of destruction. When Rai threw the
garland around Shiva's neck, the tiger attacked him. His friend Tiwari
intervened, kicking the tiger in the face. The tiger released Rai, and
attacked and killed Tiwari.
"I saw it all; the tiger turned and jumped
on the other young man and put its head on the man's neck, and within
moments, the man was apparently dead, his head dangling," Banerjee said.
The two were reportedly devotees of the goddess Durga and had gone to
"worship" the tiger. Immediately after the incident, an angry crowd went on
a stone-pelting spree in which two children and a woman were injured.