ROURKELA: IN yet another incident of man-animal conflict, a woman and her son were trampled to death by a herd of elephants at Sialjore village under Rourkela Forest Division of Sundargarh district on Wednesday night.
Rourkela Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjeet Kumar said a herd of five elephants entered the village between 1.30 am and 2 am. He said it was raining heavily and the victims’ house, located at an isolated area, was surrounded by the elephants. One of the elephants damaged the wall of the house. When a panicked Samari Pradhan (35) and her son Shatrughan (6) tried to escape, they were tramped by two other elephants. The boy’s grandmother, who was inside the house, escaped unhurt, he said. The mutilated bodies of the woman and her son were sent for autopsy on Thursday.
Sources said the boy’s father had died earlier and his elder brother (13), now rendered orphan, studies at a nearby Government residential school. The incident triggered outrage among the villagers.
The DFO said an immediate relief of `20,000 from the Forest department and `10,000 ex gratia from the Red Cross fund were released. The orphan child would be entitled to compensation of `six lakh and the district administration would be recommended to ensure him all permissible benefits, he added.
Earlier, the same herd had attacked Sandalki School in search of MDM food. After the herd was driven away by the squads, it went to the forest only to resurface at Sialjore later. The herd is holed up in Mudra Reserve Forest. The vulnerable entry points would be secured with solar fencing, the DFO said.
Two kids fell victim
On June 8, an elephant herd had appeared at the doorsteps of Durga Charan Singh in Jhirpani village of Banki range. Singh, while trying to escape with his 18-month-old daughter, was knocked down by the herd and the infant was killed. On May 26 morning, a herd had attacked a house of a woman at Dhubenband village of Sundargarh Forest Division. As the woman tried to escape with her two minor sons, her seven-year-old son was killed by an elephant.