He was lifted high in the air and dashed to ground

A Forest department employee was killed by a tusker which he sought to protect from a stone-throwing mob in West Bengal's Purulia district on Tuesday morning.

Pashupati Mahato, 58, who suffered multiple rib-fractures and damage to his lungs. succumbed to his injuries in hospital, V. Salimat, Divisional Forest Officer of Kansabati (North), told The Hindu over telephone.

As the loner, dwelling in the forest area nearby, had blocked the road connecting Adra and Kashipur, a large crowd gathered there and some of the onlookers began throwing stones at the elephant.

In trying to pacify the crowd, Pashupati Mahato ventured too close to the tusker, which lifted him high in the air and dashed him to the ground, said Mr. Salimat.

“This tusker is not a rogue elephant. Usually his behaviour is very good. The animal was also not in musth as this is not the season.”

Man-animal conflict

The forested Jangal Mahal region of the southwestern districts of Bankura, Purulia and Paschim Medinipur is home to several tuskers that do not live in herds. They have been either driven out of their herds or left behind.

The forest area in the region is very fragmented with villages lying on the fringes of the forests.

Consequently, the region has witnessed man-elephant conflict — several incidents involving loner elephants.