Durga Charan Singh and his minor daughter Sandhya were asleep on the verandah of their house in Jhirpani village. A herd of 10 to 15 elephants raided the village between 2 am and 3 am and seeing the animals near the house, Singh tried to escape with his daughter.
However, an elephant knocked him down and picked up the crying baby with its trunk. After taking the baby to some distance, the elephant thrashed her to death on the ground, informed Assistant Conservator of Forest J K Mohanty. He said before the incident, the herd was seen moving towards Bonai forest and the animals were last last seen in the forest near Jhirpani.
Panic continues to grip the forested villages as the same herd for the past fortnight had created terror with its presence at Jamardihi village of Banki range. Attracted by mango orchards and Mohua trees, the herd had previously raided and damaged at least a dozen houses. The herd gradually moved out from Jamardihi locality after an adult elephant died of suspected ‘digestive disorder’ on June 6.
Rourkela DFO Sanjeev Kumar said Friday’s incident took place when the herd was moving from Jamardihi village. He said it is a new herd which recently migrated from adjacent Jharkhand and its movement is being watched.
Earlier on May 26 morning, one elephant had encountered a woman and her two minor sons near her house at Dhubenband village of Lefripara range in Sundargarh forest division.
While the victim child Navin Barsatia (7) was killed by the elephant, his mother and 11-year-old brother somehow escaped to safety.
From January onwards, both Rourkela and Sundargarh forest divisions have witnessed four human casualties each in elephant attacks, while Bonai forest division has so far not reported any death. Every year, the district reports at least two dozens of human deaths in elephant attacks.