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Tusker kills 55-year-old in Ichagarh

Jamshedpur, Jan. 7: Tusker terror returned to Ichagarh in neighbouring Seraikela-Kharsawan district at the start of the new year with a wild elephant trampling a 55-year-old man to death last night.

The incident took place at Salundih village.

The tusker and another one, part of a migrating herd, were on a marauding spree when Shashi Mahto, who was out to relieve himself at a nearby field, came in its way. The two pachyderms also destroyed paddy crops and pulled down a mud house in the village.

Confirming the incident, divisional forest officer of Seraikela-Kharsawan said they had engaged experts to drive the two away into a neighbouring forest. “The elephants belonged to a migrating herd. They had strayed into Salundih. We shooed them away into a forest and are taking necessary steps to prevent them from entering human habitat again,” he added.

Forest officials said necessary compensation would be paid to the victim’s family in keeping with norms.

According to villagers, the two wild tuskers were on the rampage in the village for the past couple of days, damaging crops in paddy fields. “Last night, they descended on the fields around 7pm and went about destroying the crops for nearly an hour,” said a local resident.

Incidents of elephants, who migrate from Dalma to forests of neighbouring Bengal, destroying paddy crops are common in Kolhan region comprising three districts — East Singhbhum, West Singhbhum and Seraikela-Kharsawan. This is the first death caused by an elephant in the region in 2013.

Earlier, in the first week of December 2012, 50-year-old Aminchand Mahto was killed by a herd at Shankardih village, located about 500m from NH-33 in Ichagarh. The incident occurred while villagers were chasing away the wild elephants to Dalma sanctuary.

The herd had also damaged paddy fields spread over several acres.

In yet another case, an 80-year-old woman, Munni Bala Munda, died on the spot when a wild elephant pulled down the wall of her house at Daatam village in Seraikela-Kharsawan’s Kukdu block. The incident took place in November last year.

The elephant was part of a herd that had strayed into the village from nearby Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary in search of food.

The rampaging herds give sleepless nights to villagers, who stay awake to beat back the rogue animals. Concerned over the elephant menace, particularly in Seraikela-Kharsawan district, the forest department, in co-operation with villagers, have also set up teams to keep the animals at bay.