Satamile/Rasol/Hindol, Jan 4:
The tragic incident took place at Basala village under Rasol police limits in Dhenkanal district on Friday morning at around 7 am when a farmer Bairagi Sahoo (50) of the same village had gone to the fields nearby his house to relieve himself, reports said.
Suddenly, an elephant appeared from behind a bush and chased Bairagi. The scared farmer started running for dear life and later jumped into the well, thinking it would be a safe place from the menacing monster. But the elephant had turned so violent and vengeful that it jumped into the well after Bairagi.
A wildlife official, however, said the elephant had not ‘jumped’ into the well but had fallen into it accidentally and that the man got crushed under the weight of its hind legs and heavy body.
” No elephant would endanger its life by jumping into a well. Elephants always avoid stepping into ditches, especially narrow ones,” he said.
Having fallen into the well, the elephant made frantic efforts to pull itself out and trumpeted with full vigour attracting a large crowd from nearby villages. But with every frantic effort the elephant made to come out, Bairagi sank deeper into the muck inside the well under the crushing feet of the elephant, to die a silent death.
On getting the news that an elephant had got trapped inside a well, Forest department officials led by Hindol ranger Gatikrushna Mohanty swung into action to rescue the pachyderm. A JCB earth moving machine was used to dig up and widen the well by making a passage for the elephant to come out five hours after being trapped.
The elephant, after coming out from the well, ran into the nearby forest. Later Bairagi’s body was found sunk around 5 feet deep in the sludge inside the well. By the time he was traced, he was dead.
Irate villagers staged a blockade on the Hindol-Gudiakateni road by keeping Bairagi’s body demanding compensation to the deceased farmer’s family . Bairagi was a poor farmer with seven sons, three daughters and a wife. The sarpanch of his panchayat demanded a compensation of Rs 10 lakh for the family of the deceased family as well as demanding a permanent solution to the elephant menace in the area.
The villagers lifted the road blockade after much persuasion by the assistant conservator of forests, Biranchi Narayan Samal and other officials and an announcement of Rs 2 lakh compensation for the family of the deceased by the local tehsildar, Bichitrananda Tripathy. Also an amount of Rs 10,000 was provided in cash to Bairagi’s family for his cremation expenses.