A herd of 24 wild elephants killed an elderly man and a woman in two separate incidents in the Daru and Tatijharia blocks of Hazaribagh, over Wednesday night and Thursday afternoon.
The first incident took place when the herd killed a 70-year-old Mahavir Saw in Chirwa village when he went out to see if his crops were damaged by the elephants.
According to villagers, the herd had created a reign of terror among them over the last four days, damaging houses and crops. On Wednesday, it ventured into Chirwa when Saw went to check on his crops, unaware about the elephants’ presence. His body was later sent to the Hazaribagh Medical College for postmortem.
According to foresters, the herd moved to neighbouring Tatijharia block after killing Saw. “We are keeping eyes on their movement and working on the plan to push them deep into the forest,” they said.
However, on Thursday afternoon, a woman Sarswati Mosomat was killed in Amnari Karmatand forest by the same herd. Mosomat had rushed to the spot near her field where the elephants were roaming to take ‘blessings’ from them, considering the animals as avatars of Lord Ganesha.
Locals said she rushed to the field despite warnings, and as she neared the herd, one of the elephants caught her with its trunk, crushing her to death.
A team of foresters reached Saw’s village following his death and provided Rs.50,000 cash to the family. Daru BDO Ramratan Burnwal said his family will get additional Rs.3.5lakh as per provisions. Saw's three sons--two in Mumbai and one in Dubai have been informed about his death.
Sadar MLA of BJP, Manish Jaiswal expressed his grief over both the incidents.