ROURKELA:The marauding herd of five jumbos on Saturday night trampled a member of elephant driving squad to death at Jagdishpur village of Kuanrmunda range under Rourkela Forest Division (RFD) of Sundargarh district.With this, the total number of humans killed by this herd from July 12 to August 12 rose to four while total casualties in the entire RFD limits since January stood at eight.
Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) JK Mohanty identified the deceased as Pati Dhibar (35) of Deogarh district who was a contractual member of the elephant driving squad. He said the herd emerged from Kamarpahar Reserve Forest (RF) following which about 15 members of the elephant squad were trying to safely drive back the elephants. However, villagers of Dumerjore and Jagdishpur blocked all passages with fire in a bid to stop the elephants from entering their areas, thereby irritating the jumbos.
Meanwhile, three elephants moved towards Jagdishpur, while two stayed behind. At about 12.10 am, one of the two elephants charged back and caught Dhibar by surprise only to trample him to death. A colleague of Dhibar escaped narrowly, said the ACF.
Mohanty further informed that the herd is now holed up in a small forest at Gobira. Apprehending that it may enter residential areas, adequate elephant squad personnel have been deployed to guide the jumbos to nearby forests.On the day, contractual workers of the elephant squads protested with the body of their colleague demanding job assistance and compensation for Dhibar’s widow. After assurance, they took the body to Barkote in Deogarh for cremation.
During the wee hours of July 24, the same herd had attacked the mud house of Basumati Badaik (45) at Bijubandh village under Kuanrmunda range and violently ripped her body apart into four pieces. Earlier on July 12 night, the same herd raided a house and killed Samari Pradhan (35) and her son Shatrughan (6) at Sialjore village of the same forest range.Incidentally, a member of the elephant driving squad was also killed in 2013 during an jumbo chasing drive at the adjacent Birmitrapur range.