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Elephant scare at Giridih villages

Hazaribagh, Oct. 9: A herd of 20 elephants is giving sleepless nights to residents of two villages in Giridih’s Dumri block.

The pachyderms, which have come from Dumka, damaged 27 houses in the past two days and destroyed standing corps, forcing villagers to send away women and children to adjoining hamlets.

On Monday night, the elephants strayed into Bittubera village and damaged 15 houses. The residents, who tried to shoo them back into the forest by lighting fire, had to run for their lives when the elephants charged at them. The animals stayed put for an hour, pulling down one house after the other and damaging crops.

The same herd was spotted at Babhandiha village under Jeetkundi panchayat on Sunday night. They damaged 12 houses and crushed crops spread across 10 acres.

“Seeing the herd, we sent the women and children to neighbouring Jeetkundi village. Then we lit torches and tried to chase away the elephants, but they went berserk and came after us. We had no other option and had to run for cover. Two villagers had a narrow escape,” said Mangra Murmu of Babhandiha.

According to villagers, last year too, elephants had strayed into human habitats and unleashed a reign of terror.

“The elephants came from Dumka. They first entered Jamtara, then Topchanchi in Dhanbad followed by Pirtand in Giridih to finally reach Dumri. The forest department should take appropriate steps to save our lives and property, or else casualties are bound to occur,” said Babulal Murmu of Bittubera.

Divisional forest officer Smita Pankaj said a team of 13 experts from Bengal was camping in Dumri to chase away the elephants.

“The villagers whose houses got damaged in the elephants’ attack will get compensation according to government norms,” she added.


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