ROURKELA: A woman and her six-year-old son were trampled to death by a herd of wild elephants at Sialjore village, about 35 km from Rourkela, in the intervening night of Wednesday and Thursday.
Rourkela Divisional Forest Officer (DFO) Sanjeet Kumar said, a herd of five elephants entered the Sialjore village in Sundargarh district between 1.30 am and 2 am amidst heavy showers and surrounded the house of the victims. Samari Pradhan (35) and her son Shatrughan (6) tried to escape through the front gate of their house but one of the elephants partially damaged the house’s wall. They were trampled to death when they encountered two other elephants. Sialjore is located in Kuanrmunda Range under Rourkela Forest Division (RFD) of Sundargarh district.
The bodies have been sent for post mortem. The boy’s grandmother who was inside the house escaped unhurt. Samari’s husband had died earlier and her elder son, now orphaned, studies at a nearby government residential school.
The DFO said, an immediate relief of Rs 20,000 was released by the Forest Department along with an ex -gratia of Rs 10,000 from the Red Cross Fund. The orphan child would be entitled to a compensation of Rs 6 lakh and the district administration would be recommended to ensure him all permissible benefits, he added.
A couple of hours before the incident, the same herd had attempted to enter the Sandalki School in search of MDM food. When driven away by the elephant squad, it went to the forest only to resurface at Sialjore. The herd is holed up in the adjacent Mudra Reserve Forest and vulnerable entry points would be secured with solar fencing.
Earlier, on June 8, an elephant herd had attacked a woman along with her 18-month old child in Jhirpani village of Banki range. The child was killed in the incident. On May 26, a a seven-year old boy was killed in Dhubenband village of Sundargarh Forest Division in a similar incident.