Jorhat, Feb. 11: A rhino that had strayed from Kaziranga National Park more than two months back, killed a farmer at Majuli this morning.
Kolia Nath, 50, was ploughing his field at Pohumora when the rhino got up from a nearby beel (a large waterbody) — agitated by villagers who were throwing stones at it — and attacked him.
Nath was tossed up in the air by the rhino using its horn and he died where he fell. Bystanders said the incident took place around 8.30am. Nath was not part of the crowd that was disturbing the rhino.
After the attack, villagers roughed up forest guard Haren Saikia who had arrived on the spot after being informed about the matter.
Divisional forest officer, Jorhat, N.K. Malakar said the rhino, which was not fully-grown, was spotted in the Salmora forest area in Majuli about a week back.
The area is spread over 20-25 bighas of land and surrounded by trees planted by the forest department.
“We were keeping a watch on the rhino believed to be the one that had strayed from Kaziranga along with its mother,” Malakar said.
“Over the last few months four rhinos had strayed from the national park and reached Majuli. While three were sent back to the national park, this one eluded the guards. It was sighted at Potia Gaon in Jorhat and in the riverine areas of Lakhimpur district in the last one month.”
Forest guard Nabajyoti Bora, who has been guarding the rhino along with other guards in the forest area, said it was the first time the rhino came out in daytime.
“It came out at night, fed on grass and shrubs and slept during daytime. Most likely the rhino crossed the embankment in search of water,” Bora said.
The guards drove back the animal to the Salmora forest area after the attack.