Eleven year old Rakhi from Uttarakhand’s Pauri Garhwal district is battling for her life at a hospital in Delhi after she wrestled with a leopard which attacked her four year old brother Raghav on October 4. Following her brave act, now the state government has decided to recommend her name for bravery award to Central government

Dhiraj Singh Garbyal, district magistrate (DM) Pauri said while Rakhi and her brother were returning home from their farm in the evening in Devkundai village, a leopard attacked them.

“She immediately covered her brother Raghav’s body, using her own body as a shield. The leopard kept attacking her from behind but she didn’t leave her brother. Finally when her mother shouted continuously, the leopard left. Rakhi received severe injuries on her head and arms. She was rushed to a hospital in Kotdwar from where she has been referred to Delhi for treatment”, he said.

Garbyal said for her brave act, the district administration will recommend her name for the national bravery award. “First we will recommend and then the state government will send the recommendation to the Central government”, he said.

Satpal Mahraj, state tourism minister and local MLA said when he came to know about the brave act of the girl and her serious condition, he immediately got in touch with the family and got her admitted at Rammanohar Lohiya Hospital in Delhi on Monday.

“I also gave Rs 1 lakh from my salary to her family for her treatment. I will also visit her in Delhi soon”, he said

Satpal Mahraj said during Navratri celebrations, a girl of Garhwal has shown that when it comes to her loved ones, she can go to any length, even fight with a leopard to protect them.

“She has shown the true spirit of Durga Ma. For her bravery, the state government will recommend her name for national bravery award to Central government soon”, he said.

Well-known hunter Joy Hukil said Rakhi is a brave girl who had shown exemplary courage in front of such a ferocious animal. “Leopards attack young kids as they are soft targets, easy to drag and can hardly defend themselves. But in this case, somehow this brave girl managed to save her four year old brother, who would have been otherwise killed had leopard managed to drag him away”

Man-leopard conflict is on rise in the Himalayan state. The leopards have been regularly targeting children in the evenings when they are playing near their houses. Just recently on October 5, a 12-year-old girl was killed by a leopard in Pauri Garhwal district while she was playing near her home. Many leopards turn maneater and are killed by the hunters engaged by the state forest department.

This week two ‘maneater’ leopards were killed in Uttarakhand. On Sunday night, a ‘maneater’ leopard that had killed two children in Pauri was killed by hunter Azhar Khan, who works with team of hunters led by hunter Joy Hukil. On October 5, another ‘maneater’ leopard that created terror in some areas of Pithoragarh district was killed by Joy Mukil. The leopard had killed a woman in Pithoragarh’s Papdeo village on September 3.

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