By A Newsman
Siliguri, 12 February: A villager has been killed and four foresters injured in a fresh wild elephant raid at Ambari village in Jalpaiguri district on the outskirts of Siliguri town this morning.
This comes a day after a wild elephant had strayed into the heart of Siliguri town on 10 February morning, damaging several houses and vehicles along its trail before being tamed with tranquilisers after a near seven hour rampage.
Today morning around 5 am, another adult male pachyderm forayed into Ambari village from the bordering Baikathapur forest. Traversing through the Canal Road, it reached Hati More area in the village, where an elephant statue was installed years ago keeping in mind the corridor used by wild elephants.
Fifty year old villager, Nagen Roy, who had stepped out of his home to relieve himself, accidentally came on the way, and the wild elephant trampled him to death. After this, the killer elephant began to get deeper into the village rampaging through paddy filed and a tea plantation. Alarmed villagers soon sent a SOS to the forest department.
A team of foresters led by the Belakoba forest range officer Sanjay Dutta reached the village after 7 am. Realising that the forest guards alone would not be able to drive away the rampaging elephant, Dutta summoned a wildlife squad from Malbazar.
A four member team from the Malbazar wildlife squad arrived around 9 am and got into action to chase away the wild pachyderm to the forest again.
“But while they were doing so riding on a forest jeep, the elephant suddenly rushed towards them and overturned the jeep. The squad members fell under the overturned vehicle; we moved them out only after the elephant moved away a little,” range officer Dutta said.
The four injured foresters have been identified as Abdul Samad, Saidul Islam, Deepak Chhetri and S Chhetri. They are now admitted at three separate hospitals in Siliguri. The condition of 56-year old Samad, who is from Cooch Behar, is critical.
After a near four hour struggle, Dutta and his co-foresters finally succeeded in driving back the killer elephant back to the Baikanthapur forest. Residents of Amabri and the adjoining villagers are however scared fearing fresh attacks by the elephant.