A septuagenarian woman asleep in her mud house was killed by a wild elephant which apparently broke down the wall of the hut, dragged her outside with its trunk and trampled her to death near Borjora in Bankura district early Wednesday.
One more person was killed by wild elephants elsewhere in the district on Tuesday.
The deceased persons were Tulsi Batabyal, 73, and Mangal Bauri, 45. Their bodies were found near their respective homes on Wednesday morning.
Batabyal was a resident of Jharia village.
“She was sleeping alone inside her house. A herd of elephants came near her home and the wall was broken down. One of the animals pulled the elderly woman with its trunk and trampled her to death,” said a villager.
On Tuesday, an elephant trampled to death Bauri, a resident of Sangrampur in neighbouring Beliatore.
Police said he had gone to buy medicine for his ailing wife in the evening but did not return home till Wednesday morning. Villagers found his body in the farmland adjacent to Bandhkana forest early on Wednesday morning.
After inspecting the sites of both the incidents, forest officers said separate elephants were behind the incidents.
The foresters said a herd of 30 elephants had entered Bankura district from West Midnapore recently and two elephants might have started out of the group.
Chief conservator of forests (central circle) S. Kulandivel said compensation would be given to the family members of the victims.
Sources said human-animal conflicts were frequent in the Jungle Mahal during the winter. The foresters said elephants entered human habitats lured by ripe rice in the fields and because of the paucity of food in the forest.
The trend of elephants entering human habitats is not confined to Bankura alone. The situation is the same in other districts like Jhargramand Purulia.
Researchers have pointed out that deforestation in the bordering Jharkhand to develop mines and steel industries in pockets like Jamshedpurforced elephants to start moving to the Jungle Mahal of Bengal from the early 1980s.