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3 killed in elephant attacks in Bengal

In the past two years, chief minister Mamata Banerjee pulled up the forest department and local administration for failing to rein in instances of elephants killing human beings and destroying crops and property.

kolkata Updated: May 19, 2019 06:59 IST
Koushik Dutta
Koushik Dutta
Hindustan Times, Midnapore
Elephants kill man,West Bengal,India news
On an average about 30 people are killed every year by elephants in and around Jhargram, West Midnapore and Bankura.(AFP file photo)

Three persons were killed in different elephant attacks this week in Bengal’s Jhargram and West Midnapore districts.

On Saturday morning, Nilkantha Mahato (75) was killed in Kharikashuli area in Jhargram by an elephant. On Friday, Sailen Mahato (33) was killed in Lalgarh area of Jhargram district, while 73-year-old Manglu Mahato lost his life in West Midnapore.

Both Nilkantha Mahato and Manglu Mahato were trampled by elephants when they went to respond to nature’s call.

On an average about 30 people are killed every year by elephants in and around Jhargram, West Midnapore and Bankura.

Forest officials claimed that villagers were jeopardising their lives by disobeying their advice.

“We are asking the people that they should not go inside forests to respond to nature’s call, or move in the forests, especially in the morning and evening, when the elephants are roaming in the area. But many are not paying heed to our advice,” said Basabraj Hellaichi, the Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) of Jhargram.

However, Sailen Mahato lost his life when he was taking pictures, triggering an attack by elephants.

“On Friday, a new born elephant died in Pakhibandh area of Lalgarh, and Sailen Mahato was taking pictures of the elephants. The angry elephant attacked him. Had he not gone close, he would not have lost his life,” said Sandeep Berawal, the DFO of Midnapore.

Two others, Nepal Mahato and Ganesh Mahato, were injured when they were attacked by elephants in Baghmundi area of the Ayodhya hills in Purulia district. They are undergoing treatment in Purulia district hospital.

Every year, elephants come to this area from the Dolma hills of Jharkhand. The trend started in the late eighties, when about 40-50 elephants would come and stay in the state for about three months. But now more than 150 animals arrive and stay for about 10 months.

In the past two years, chief minister Mamata Banerjee pulled up the forest department and local administration for failing to rein in instances of elephants killing human beings and destroying crops and property.

First Published: May 18, 2019 18:56 IST