ROURKELA: A man’s attempt to take selfie with a stray tusker proved fatal with the irate elephant trampling him to death. The incident took place on Friday behind Puroshottam Institute of Engineering Technology (PIET) at Mandiakudar near Rourkela. The deceased is Ashok Bharati (45), a native of Bidanasi in Cuttack, who was working in a factory there. The incident occurred between 1 pm and 2 pm, 20 km away from Rourkela under Rajgangpur range of Rourkela forest division (RFD) in Sundargarh district.
Rourkela Assistant Conservator of Forest (ACF) J K Mohanty said Ashok was attacked by the tusker when he moved close to it to take a selfie with the animal on his mobile phone. The critically injured worker was rushed to Rourkela Government Hospital only to be declared dead.The tusker on Friday night had moved from Pitamahal dam area.
It continues to stay put in the area behind PIET and Agrasen Sponge Iron Plant at Mandiakudar. Mohanty said the villagers, in order to prevent the elephant from entering their area, are not allowing its safe passage. Efforts are underway to safely guide the tusker to the nearby forest, he said. Locals said last night three to four elephants had strayed into the spot but except the tusker, the rest returned.
With the death of Ashok, human casualty in elephant attacks rose to nine in as many months under the RFD limits. From July 12 to August 12, a herd of five elephants had killed four persons in Kuanrmunda range, including an elephant chaser Pati Dhibar (35) on August 12 midnight. As villagers of Dumerjore and Jagdishpur had blocked all escape routes, an elephant suddenly charged back and killed Dhibar. Other victims included a woman Basumati Badaik (45) of Bijubandh village, another woman Samari Pradhan (35) and her son Shatrughan (6) of Sialjorevillage, all under Kuanrmunda range, Durga Charan Singh and his 18-month-old daughter of Nuagaon village of Banki range. All thesevictims’ houses were raided by the elephants. Two other human casualties had also occurred this year elsewhere in RFD limits.