13 people held for killing elephant calf in Chhattisgarh
Forest authorities have arrested 12 people and detained a minor boy for allegedly killing an elephant calf and burying the carcass in a paddy farm in Chhattisgarh’s Korba district, officials said on Sunday.
As per preliminary investigation, the accused spotted the elephant calf at the farm in Bania village under Pasan forest range on October 18 and allegedly poisoned it to death the next day. They buried the carcass in the farm to hide the crime, Katghora Divisional Forest Officer Premlata Yadav said.
Later, a herd of 44 elephants to which the calf belonged went on a rampage and killed a man and three cattle in the nearby Devmatti village, she said.
Acting on a tip-off, forest personnel exhumed the carcass of the jumbo from the farm in Bania village on October 20 following which an investigation was launched into its killing, she said.
Forest personnel found that paddy had been planted freshly on the patch of land where the carcass was buried to cover up the killing, she said.
A case was registered for the offence under provisions of the Wildlife (Protection) Act 1972.
So far, 12 people, including the owner of the farm where the animal carcass was buried, have been arrested and a 16-year-old boy detained from the village in this connection, Yadav said.
The official also said that during interrogation, the accused told the police about their role in the crime.
Efforts are on to trace the main accused, who is a member of the Pasan janpad panchayat, she added.
Human-elephant conflict has been a major issue in northern Chhattisgarh for the last one decade, but such incidents are also being witnessed in the central region of the state in the last few years.
The districts prominently affected by human-elephant conflict are Surguja, Raigarh, Korba, Surajpur, Gariaband, Jashpur and Balrampur.
According to the forest department, at least 210 people were killed in elephant attacks in the state in the last three years.
The state also reported deaths of 47 elephants in the last four years with the causes ranging from ailments and old age to electrocution.