‘The leopard is in classroom 10’: School puts big cat in detention after it mauls student

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A student in the northern Indian state of Uttar Pradesh was mauled by a leopard that strayed into a school and was locked up by school authorities in a classroom.

Viral videos of the incident showed the leopard walking from one end of a classroom to the other, making its way through rows of tables and chairs.

Authorities said the incident occurred at Chaudhary Nihal Singh Inter College in Aligarh on Wednesday morning, half an hour before morning assembly.

About 50 students were present at the time, Yogesh Yadav, the principal of Chaudhary Nihal Singh Inter College, told the Times of India newspaper.

The injured student, identified as Lakhiraj Singh, 15, said he spotted the leopard when he tried to enter the classroom at 8.30am.

“As I entered the classroom, I saw there was a leopard. The moment I turned away, the animal attacked and bit me on the arm and back,” said Singh, to NDTV.

As teachers and students raised alarm hearing Singh’s cries for help, the leopard ran into another classroom.

School authorities said that they immediately sent all school students home and closed the building gates.

“The leopard is in college in room number 10. The forest authorities have been informed. The local police station has been told as well. We have been monitoring the animal through CCTV,” said Mr Yadav to reporters on Wednesday morning.

CCTV footage shows visuals of the leopard walking around the empty classroom, which was locked while forest authorities were called in.

In a statement, district authorities said that the injured student meanwhile had been rushed to the hospital.

“The student was injured. He was rushed to a hospital and is now completely healthy,” said District Inspector of Schools, Dharmendra Sharma to ANI.

Forest officials reached the school around 10am and started rescue operations that lasted over nine hours.

Aligarh district forest official, Diwakar Kumar Vashisht said that all escape routes for the leopard had been sealed, and the leopard’s movements were monitored through CCTV images.

Eventually the leopard was evacuated with the help of the NGO Wildlife SOS at 7.30pm.

Authorities said they are not sure where the animal may have come from. But according to Mr Vashisht it could have come from as far away as 20 km away from Sankra Ganga Ghat, an area around the lower banks of the river Ganga.

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