Written by Kumudu Jayawardana
24 Feb, 2014 | 12:30 pm
A leopard on the loose has sparked a scare and shut all schools and colleges today in Meerut in Uttar Pradesh, less than two hours from Delhi.
The animal, which is believed to have strayed from the forest on the edge of Meerut’s rural area, is being hunted since yesterday. A massive contingent of police and the army’s quick rescue team could not stop it from escaping from a hospital where it had been locked in for hours.
The leopard was first spotted in Meerut’s cantonment area on Sunday morning. Stunned people started running in panic and the police even had to use batons to try and control the crowd.
Six people including a photographer were hurt in the commotion. When the police reportedly fired a shot in the air, the leopard jumped on rooftops and walls till it entered a hospital.
The animal walked into a ward where five patients were admitted. The hospital staff managed to take the patients out and lock the leopard in.
Almost the entire day, a crowd waited outside the hospital, keeping vigil as the animal tried to escape through a window. It finally jumped out, injuring two men, and vanished.
The hospital is not far from a reserved forest area, but all of Sunday, there was no expert available to catch the animal, said the police. Teams have now been called from Delhi and Rajasthan.
Most shops in the Cantonment area are also closed due to the scare.
Meerut administration officials say wild cats have been known to stray into settlements from the thick forests nearby.
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