A 46-year-old woman was killed by a wild elephant in the outskirts of a village in Chhattisgarh's Surajpur district, an official said on Friday. The incident took place in Bhelkachh village under Ghui forest range, where the victim Geeta Devi was heading to her field on Thursday, said B S Bhagat, divisional forest officer (DFO) of Surajpur forest division.
The woman suddenly came face to face with a tusker, which caught hold of her with its trunk and slammed her on the ground, killing her on the spot, he said.
The pachyderm then threw the body into a small pond nearby before going away, he said. On being alerted, forest personnel rushed to the spot and shifted the body to a hospital for post-mortem, the official said.
In addition to the latest casualty, the pachyderm named Pyare has killed 48 people since 2014 in Surajpur and neighbouring districts. District forest officials have sought permission from the state government to shift Pyare to a local elephant rescue and rehabilitation centre.
Surajpur, a neighbouring district of Korba, is located over 300 km away from the capital Raipur. An immediate aid of Rs 25,000 has been provided to the kin of the deceased, the DFO said, adding that the remaining compensation of Rs 5.75 lakh will be disbursed after the completion of the necessary formalities.
Villagers have demanded that two rogue elephants in the area be shifted to the Elephant Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre in Tamor Pingla wildlife sanctuary of the district, he said.
"As many as 48 persons have been killed in attacks by Pyare in Surajpur and neighbouring districts since 2014 and permission has been sought from the state government to shift the elephant to a rescue centre,” the official said.
Meanwhile, Bilaspur-based wildlife activist Mansoor Khan has stressed proper monitoring of movements of rogue elephants to prevent their entry into human settlements and said that in the case of Pyare, keeping it in captivity is the only option left with the forest department.
“We never wish for wild animals to be kept in captivity, but in the case of Pyare, the situation is different. Several people have lost their lives in attacks. Now shifting him to a rescue centre is the only option left with forest officials,” Khan said.
Human-elephant conflicts in the northern part of the state have been a major cause for concern in the last decade and, the menace has further spread in some districts of the central region as well. Surguja, Raigarh, Korba, Surajpur, Mahasamund, Dhamtari, Gariaband, Balod, Balrampur and Kanker district are facing the menace.
With PTI inputs.