BOKAJAN: A 55-year old woman was trampled to death by a herd of wild elephants in the Tila Basti area of Khatkhati along the Assam-Nagaland border in East Karbi Anglong on Saturday. As reported, the deceased Kulsuma Begum was suddenly confronted by three wild elephants when she went to fetch cow dung early on Saturday morning. Kulsuma worked as a cleaner in the Lahorijan Forest Beat Office, which happens to be just a kilometre away from her residence. Her body was sent to Diphu Medical College for post-mortem. She is survived by her husband and five children.
The man-animal conflict has assumed an alarming proportion in the hill district of Karbi Anglong. It has once again brought the inconvenient truth about the ill-equipped forest department to the fore. A small school going girl was trampled to death in broad daylight at Longkathar village under Khatkhati Forest beat on January 4, 2017. Again, in August, 2019 a 13-year-old girl was trampled to death by a wild elephant in the Phulbari area of Bokajan.
Earlier in May, 2019, a pregnant woman and her four-year-old daughter were trampled to death by a herd of wild elephants at the Sunday Bazaar area along Assam-Nagaland border which once happened to be a forested area and migrating route to a herd of wild elephants. However, rampant clearing of forest and the ever expanding human settlements have resulted in the loss of food and habitat for elephants and conflict with humans has increased in recent years. Residents allege the lack of apathy among the forest department officials in containing the man-elephant conflict in the area. "The forest officials never respond to emergency phone calls. Even if they do, they always arrive late citing this or the other excuse," a resident said.