Alipurduar, Sept. 13: Residents of a tea estate today squatted on NH31 with the body of a 20-year-old youth who was trampled to death by an elephant when he fell down while trying to escape from the marauding animal.
According to a Dalgaon Tea Estate source, two elephants entered the garden around 2am today and destroyed a hut. The family somehow ran out before the structure collapsed. The animals — a tusker and a female — went on a destruction spree, pulling down 17 huts.
Kismat Khakha, 20, was running helter skelter to save his life when he fell down. The tusker trampled the boy to death. The jumbos injured six other villagers.
The injured are Shyama Ranjan Nagatia, 34, his son Karan, 14, Sushanta Kujur, 20, Rajib Khalko, 18, Suman Lakra 20, and Etwa Ekka, 30.
The foresters were informed shortly and the villagers expressed their grievances to them about the repeated elephant attacks.
Three of the injured were admitted to Jalpaiguri Sadar Hospital in critical condition while the rest were admitted to Birpara State General Hospital. Dalgaon Tea Estate is 58km from Alipurduar.
The workers sat with the body of the boy on NH31 from 7am today for five hours, causing a long line of stalled vehicles on the highway.
Around noon, the joint block development officer and the inspector in charge of Falakata reached the spot.
The garden residents lifted the blockade after that and police were allowed to take the body for a post-mortem to Alipurduar hospital.
Gajendra Sisodia, the manager of Dalgaon Tea Estate, said: “At least 120 huts have been damaged in the last two months in the garden.”
Bidyut Sarkar, the divisional forest officer of Jalpaiguri division, said: “Four to five elephants got separated from a herd and were damaging the huts. We are setting up a camp near the Dalgaon Tea Estate. From tonight, our staff will keep a close vigil on the elephants. We will also bear the cost of the treatment of the injured persons.”