Wild elephants trample girl beyond recognition

Bokaro, July 22: A herd of 15 elephants last midnight trampled to death a 25-year-old physically challenged woman on the foothills of Jhumra in Gomia block, around 85km from Bokaro, today.

Chanchal Kumari alias Gudia, who could not walk properly, a resident of Jatiatand Toli in Pachmo village, Gomia, could not flee on time when the herd attacked her village home.

wildCurrently, the elephants, with two newborn calves, are stationed in the deep forest zone between Pachmo and Kathara in Gomia. Bokaro district forest officer (DFO) P.R. Naidu, eight foresters and 10 trained youths from Gomia are trying to send back the herd to a safe zone using dragon lights, crackers and drums.

According to Bokaro DFO Naidu, the herd of elephants which entered Jhumra zone last night, reached Pachmo hamlet in search of fodder. “Their nature is that they give what we call a mock charge so that people escape. When they attacked farmer Dashrath Giri’s house and it caved in, the man pulled out his wife and two other sons to safety. The desperate father tried to pull out Chanchal, but as she couldn’t walk, she fell down,” he said.

The enraged elephants caught up with Chanchal, crushing her under their feet so badly that her body was dismembered. The father watched in helpless horror, the DFO told

Later, the elephant herd attacked five acres of standing kharif crops, paddy and maize, of five farmers, including Dashgiri, and then went to take shelter in the Pachmo jungles.

The Bokaro district forest office has given Rs 25,000 to the deceased Chanchal’s family today and recommended a sum of Rs 2.5 lakh more as damages for the bereaved kin. Gomia MLA Yogendra Mahto gave Rs 5,000 to Chanchal’s family.

The Gomia circle officer has been asked to assess the damage property and crops of the farmers.

“Our team is trying hard to send the elephants to the elephant corridor,” DFO Naidu said.

“As Hazaribagh, Bokaro, Dhanbad and Giridih have fragmented jungle zones, elephants time and again enter human habitats, attack crops and human beings. This is not the case in Bandipur National Park in Karnataka, near Tamil Nadu and Kerala, where some 3,500 elephants live in herds. Till date, the elephants there have never attacked any human being as their jungles are dense. We need to grow more trees and make water arrangements so that elephants are not forced to leave the jungles towards human habitats in search of fodder and water,” the DFO said.