Assam: Police ‘seize’ female elephant for killing 14-year-old boy
Police in Assam’s Golaghat district on Wednesday “seized” a domesticated female elephant for killing a 14-year-old boy last week. The pachyderm’s 8-month-old calf has also been taken into custody.
According to the police, the elephant named Dulumoni, which is owned by former Bokakhat MLA Jiten Gogoi, had killed the child on July 8 at Bijuli near Naharjan tea estate. Following the death, there was intense pressure by local residents on forest officials to take action.
“We lodged a case under Section 304 of Indian Penal Code for culpable homicide not amounting to murder. We seized the elephant and her calf in connection with the case and have handed them over to the forest department for custody,” an official of Bokakhat police station told journalists.
A local forest officer stated that the elephant attacked the child after the latter reportedly tried to hug its calf. The incident was reportedly the third time the pachyderm had attacked humans.
“The forest department is not involved in investigation of the case. Since the police had no means of keeping the elephant and its calf, they placed them under our custody,” said Ramesh Gogoi, divisional forest officer, Kaziranga.
Director of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve (KNPTR), P Sivakumar, said that though it was rare, domestic animals can be seized by police or forest department as part of collecting evidence during investigation of a case.
In 2013, a male domestic elephant called Thechikottukavu Ramachandran was arrested by the forest department in Kerala after it killed three women during a temple festival at Perumbavoor. The elephant’s owners had to submit a bond of ₹30 lakh to secure its release.
In October last year, forest officials in Assam seized a railway locomotive for mowing down a female elephant and her calf.
According to information provided by forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya in the state assembly on Wednesday, 812 people have died due to human-elephant conflict in the past 10 years in Assam.