TWO PERSONS died and one sustained injuries when a wild elephant went on a rampage at Konamali village in Cooch Behar on Monday morning. “Two people were attacked by a wild elephant. They both died,” said Cooch Behar SP Anup Jaiswal. The deceased have been identified as Upen Burman (66) and Mahindranath Rai (73). Sources in the police said both were on way to their fields when they were attacked by the elephant. “Burman was the first one to be attacked, when he tried to chase the elephant. He died on the spot. Then the elephant attacked Rai. Like Burman, he too was flung in the air and died at the spot,” said a source.
Another person, Sanjay Rai, who was present nearby, had a narrow escape as the elephant got distracted by the sound of another animal and moved away, he added. “Soon after, villagers, police personnel and forest officials rushed to the spot. The injured person was taken to Cooch Behar MJN Hospital. He is stated to be stable.” The elephant was heading towards the jungles of Alipurduar, said eyewitnesses.
Additional District Forest Official Raju Roy told mediapersons: “We received a call around 5 am about an elephant entering Konamoli area and then rushed to the spot. First, it attacked Upen Burman. Then, the wild elephant, who was heading towards Maheshbari, attacked Mahendra Nath Rai. Police have recovered both the bodies. The elephant had also damaged a house.”
“We are strengthening vigilance to ensure that no such man-animal conflicts occur again,” he added. According to government data, last year, 108 people had died due to human-elephant conflict in the state.