Herd of elephants kill three, including one taking selfie in Hazaribagh
A herd of 22 elephants, including four calves, are on rampage for last couple of days in Hazaribag district killing three people, including one who was taking selfie with the jumbos, forest officials said on Thursday.
Divisional forest officer (DFO) of Hazaribag West, Rajendra Naidu said one Hasib Ansari, 22, was attacked by the herd while taking selfie with the elephants at a forest near Mirzapur village in the district.
“Ansari went to the forest with four-five friends on Wednesday evening. As they started taking selfie and making videos, the elephants got infuriated and chased the boys. Other friends were successful in escaping but Ansrai could not flee and was crushed by an elephant,” Naidu said.
Then, the herd moved towards Nawakkurd village where they killed one Lilu Sao, 45, resident of Dokatand village. Sao was allegedly throwing crackers at the herd. He was in intoxicated condition, forest official said.
The third incident took place at Taleswar village on Wednesday midnight, where one Tulsi Mahto, 40, who was returning from his farm field. He was trapped among the herd and was trampled to death, officials said.
Naidu said the herd entered Hazaribag from Chatra district on November 11. The herd was moving peacefully in the district for last two days. They turned aggressive on Wednesday causing major damage to property and life, Naidu said.
He added an experts’ team was called from Bankura district in West Bengal to drive away the elephants. “The team will reach tonight. Meanwhile, forest team drove the herd at Chapri forest on Hazaribag-Ramgarh district,” Naidu said.
Irate villagers on Thursday blocked the Tandwa-Barkagaon road demanding compensation to the victims’ families. The road blockade was withdrawn after police assured them for compensation.
Barkagaon police station in-charge, Parmanand Kumar Mehra said the deceased families were paid ₹20,000 each. “After receiving the post mortem report, and completion of proceeding, the families will be paid the remaining amount of compensation money as per government rules,” he said.
Average 62 people were killed every year by elephants in Jharkhand since 2009-2010, as per the figure of state forest department. The state lost 78 lives in 2017-18, which is the highest in last nine years, in the conflicts, while 25 people have died till end of first quarter (April to June 2018) of the current financial year.