A 60-year-old man was trampled to death by some rogue elephants, from a herd of 15, near Tunju village, about 50km from Ranchi, along NH-33 on Monday.
Sources said the herd, which had stationed itself in the area for the past three-four days, was agitated after being pelted by stones by some youths in the morning. Some of the elephants then charged the youths and ended up attacking and trampling one Kamlakant Mahto who was taking a dip in a nearby pond.
Officials of the state forest department later made an ex-gratia payment of Rs 25,000 to the family of Mahto with a promise of an additional Rs 1.75 lakh that would be paid later.
Foresters said the herd, which included 10 females and two new-born calves, had been destroying standing paddy crops. The group has not made much progress towards their forest hideouts and stayed out in the open most of the time.
Sources said they were agitated by the large presence of humans, who flock daily to catch a look, near them and went on the offensive on Monday.
“We have been in a fix for the past three-four days. The herd has just anchored itself and is making very slow progress due to the presence of the calves. We are trying to chase them away towards the forests on the Bengal side,” Khunti divisional forest officer K.K. Tripathy said.
The herd he said was first spotted near Deori temple and has since then moved towards the nearby village areas of Jojodih, Lohnri Timpur, Deori, Kanchi and Tunju.
If not attract attention, they have definitely been able to create panic on the highway holding up traffic for close to two hours on Monday itself.
“I reached Tamar two hours late as the bus iw as travelling on was stopped before Bundu by the local administartion, said S.K. Choudhary, one of the many inconvenienced passengers .