Gandak crocodile drags man into river, kills him | india-news | Hindustan Times
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Gandak crocodile drags man into river, kills him

A crocodile attacked and killed a villager who had waded into shoal of the Gandak river to cut grass for his cattlehead in Bihar’s West Champaran district.

india Updated: Jun 23, 2017 20:33 IST
Sagar Suraj
(HT File Photo)

A villager, trying to wade across waist-deep Gandak river, was killed in a crocodile attack in the interiors of Bihar’s West Champaran district on Wednesday.

The villager’s body could not be retrieved on Friday even as local divers were pressed into service.

Asharfi Yadav, 34, a resident of Bhitaha panchayat, 220 km north-west of Patna, was trying to cross the river to collect grass for his cattlehead when a crocodile attacked him.

Yadav, for the past several years, had waded into the shoal of the river to cut grass for his cattlehead, recollected villagers. But destiny had ordained differently on Wednesday.

According to eyewitnesses, the crocodile held him by his head and thrashed him about in the waters, killing him.

This is the first such reported attack by a crocodile on a human in the district, said Girija Devi, mukhiya of adjoining Chilbaniya panchayat. The incident had made the villagers residing along the embankment cagey, she added.

As the news spread, hundreds of villagers gathered along the river bank. Station house officer of Bhitaha police station, Abdul Mazid, said Asharfi’s body was yet to be traced. Given that the village was remote, it took a couple of days for the news to reach the district headquarters.

“For years together, villagers use to collect grass for their cattlehead by wading across the river. With the number of crocodiles increasing fast, the river has now become dangerous and no one would now dare to wade across it,” said Sakim Paswan, a fellow villager.

The Gandak is the third most favourable breeding ground for crocodiles according to the Wildlife Trust of India.

A decade ago, there were a good number of crocodiles, which gradually declined in the river. Six crocodiles from the Sanjay Gandhi Biological Park in Patna were released in the river near the Valmiki Tiger Reserve (VTR) in 2015. Wildlife experts have also been releasing “captive-bred crocodiles” in the Gandak under the Centre’s crocodile conservation project.

The Gandak originates from the Dhaulagiri mountain in Nepal. It enters India at Valmikinagar, where two rivulets Sonha and Pachnad join it, forming a holy confluence ‘Triveni’. The river flows south-east 300 kms across north Bihar, West Champaran, Gopalganj, Siwan, Muzaffarpur and Vaishali districts and joins the Ganga river at Hajipur.