On Way to College, BCOM Student Killed by Tusker (Kodagu, India)


Manoj Sharma, Bangalore Mirror 

Date Published

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A teenage girl died after she was attacked by an elephant on Friday in Tharikatte near Devapura village of Virajpet taluk in Kodagu district.

The deceased was identified as Safana (18), a student of BCom at Cauvery College of Gonikoppal taluk.

The incident took place in the morning when she was travelling to her college on a bike with her elder brother, Shakir (21), a final year BA student from the same college, who is being treated after he received injuries in the incident.

The duo’s parents are Musthafa and Saina, residents of Tharikatte village.

Around 9 am, the bike-borne duo came across the elephant at a coffee plantation near their home.

The elephant which wanted to cross the road panicked, and hit Safana, who was riding pillion, with its tusk. She suffered severe injuries to her face, and was bleeding profusely; she died on the spot.

The force with which the elephant hit her was so severe that a part of its tusk broke off and fell down.

The workers of the coffee plant immediately informed the forest officials of the incident.

Shakir passed out on the spot. Fortunately, his injuries were minor.

Eyewitnesses said that three elephants had crossed the road through the coffee plantation before the duo came to the spot on their bike. The elephant which hit the girl was part of the herd and had been left behind, and was in a hurry to cross the road. This, the eyewitnesses said, could be the reason why it attacked the bike-borne duo.

Soon after the incident, hundreds of people rushed to the spot and urged officials to compensate the family of the victim.

Forest officials issued a cheque of Rs 2 lakh to the family as compensation, and assured Rs 3 lakh soon. But the situation turned tense when the gathered villagers urged the officials to release the rest of the amount on the spot and an argument broke out. The villagers accused the forest officials of negligence in controlling the elephant menace in Thithimathi village.

They said that though the department is conducting operations to catch elephants across the district, it has not done anything near the village which has resulted in the loss of around 7-8 lives every year.

They also said that the department is releasing compensation amount after deaths but is not taking proper actions to prevent such deaths in the first place.

The body of the girl was sent to the government hospital in Gonikoppal for post-mortem. There were emotional scenes as hundreds of students rushed to the mortuary there to express their grief over the death.