A 60-year-old hearing impaired villager was killed by an elephant on Tuesday afternoon when he had gone inside forest area of Kilpura forest range of east tarai division in Khatema (Uttarakhand) to collect firewood. This forest has been proposed by Uttarkhandforest authorities to state government of UT for making Pilibhit tiger reserve’s buffer zone.
According to range officer of Kilpura forest range, Kiran Chan Kaflatiya, the incident took place around 3.30 PM on Tuesday in compartment number 20 of west Kilpura beat forest. He told TOI, “The deceased, Rajendra Singh, a resident of village Alawarvi under Khatema police station, had a routine practice of going inside the forest area to collect the firewood. The village of the deceased was situated at the distance of hardly 300 meters from Kilpura forest range that has presence of nearly 30 to 35 elephants.”
“It could be possible that the deceased who was hearing impaired had failed to notice the sounds of elephants’ movement in the forest that time due to his physical disability. His dead body was first seen by a forest guard, Om Prakash Gangwar, at around 4 PM who was on day patrolling of the forest area,” kaflatiya said.
On the basis of foot marks of elephants and the treaded grass as well as forest shrubs on the spot, it was established that Rajendra Singh had been knocked with sharp blow by an elephant, he said.
Asked on how villager intruded in forest area, Kaflatiya said that the forest of east tarai division was having the status of reserve forest and in accordance with its law, the poor villagers living in surroundings of forest area were entitled to get firewood from jungle for cooking purpose as well as reeds and long grass for making thatched houses.