Irked over jumbo problem, angry villagers ‘manhandle’ forest team in Odisha
Sources said a group of villagers picked up a fight with the team from Bonai forest division which was trying to drive away two wild elephants frequenting human settlements in the area.
Published: 08th October 2022 06:37 AM | Last Updated: 08th October 2022 06:37 AM | A+A A-
ROURKELA/SAMBALPUR: Upset over growing incidents of elephant depredation, angry villagers of Phengeidhipa under Bonai range in Sundargarh district reportedly manhandled two members of a forest team engaged in driving away elephants from human habitations on Thursday night.
The incident took place in Dharanidharpali section at around 8.30 pm. Sources said a group of villagers picked up a fight with the team from Bonai forest division which was trying to drive away two wild elephants frequenting human settlements in the area.
The irate villagers asked the forest team to tranquillise the two elephants and shift them out of Bonai forest division as there was a possibility of the jumbos entering Phengeidhipa again. An altercation broke out over the demand following which the villagers allegedly manhandled a forest guard and another person hired to drive away the elephants.
Contacted, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Bonai Sanath Kumar said there was a quarrel with the villagers. However, he refused to admit that members of the forest team were manhandled. Sources said Bonai police was verbally intimated about the incident. Bonai IIC Ranjan Nayak said no case has been registered in this connection as police are yet to receive any written complaint.
Meanwhile in Sambalpur, autopsy was conducted on the carcasses of the two elephants which were found dead at Tileimal village near Patara forest under Bamra forest division on Thursday. Badarama forest range officer Subash Nayak said the postmortem was carried out in presence of the DFO and local sarpanch. Visceral samples have been collected and sent to OUAT, Bhubaneswar to ascertain the cause of death. After autopsy, the carcasses were buried.
The two elephants, one male and the other female, were found dead in a paddy field near Tileimal. Forest officials suspect that they might have died after consuming pesticide-laced crops. Meanwhile, a joint task force of the Forest department is scheduled to visit Sambalpur on Saturday to probe the death of the two elephants.