The tusker stuck amid the jute plants in the village about 9km from Jalpaiguri town. Telegraph picture
Siliguri, July 13: A tusker walked out a forest near Jal- paiguri town today and trampled to death a man before around 2,000 people confined the animal to a jute field for more than 10 hours.
Torrential rain and the presence of hundreds of onlookers, many of them drumming furiously on tin cans to scare the animal, prevented forest officials from rescuing it from the field.
Around 6.30 this morning, the elephant took Annadhar Roy by the trunk, hurled him down and trampled him.
“Curiosity killed him. He went too close,” said Atul Burman, who saw Roy being cru- shed to death. “He died instantly. We could do nothing.”
The elephant had walked 14km from the Baikunthapur forest to enter the Panga Battala area. The word had spread fast and villagers warned each other to stay away from its path. “I saw it on our road,” said Swapan Roy. “The tusker went around the village. I warned many against coming anywhere near its way. Everyone outside ran to take shelter.”
But people watched in ho- rror as Annadhar suddenly found himself too close to the animal.
Hundreds of tin cans came out then and the din from wails of scared villagers and the improvised drums scared the giant.
It started running towards the jute field, the only part of the village that didn’t have too many people this morning.
As it ran breathless, the elephant brushed past a villager. The man, who thought for a moment he had died, suffered only minor bruises.
Amid the tall jute plants, the elephant managed to hide itself. But its panic could be felt from the trumpeting through the day.
“We stood helpless till the evening. It was raining heavily and around 2,000 people were standing on the fringes of the field, making our job doubly difficult,” said N.N. Sengupta, the Belakoba range officer.
As the rain subsided and the crowd thinned a little around 5.30pm, four forest teams made of 50 people pushed the animal back towards Baikunthapur.
On the way home, the tusker was back to its elements, though, almost completely destroying two huts.