Rourkela: Continuing its rampage, a herd of seven elephants on Tuesday trampled a former sarpanch to death during a drive at Harpali village in Kuanrmunda range of Rourkela Forest Division (RFD) in Sundargarh district.
Villagers of Kuanrmunda, Birmitrapur and Bisra forest ranges under the RFD limits are spending sleepless nights amid growing elephant menace with the herd reportedly accounting for six of the total seven human casualties in less than two months.
Enraged villagers detained the body of Ranka Toppo (45), a member of a squad formed to drive away elephants and the former sarpanch of Kacharu, at Kuanrmunda range office demanding compensation.
Bisra range officer S C Sahani said when they were successfully driving the elephants towards the forest, a group of villagers from another side pelted stones at the elephants. He said the elephants changed their course and charged back towards the elephant squad. Toppo, while fleeing, stumbled. He was then trampled to death by an elephant at about 6.30 am on Tuesday. Sahani said the herd is now holed up in Jatia forest near Harpali village. Another herd of 17 elephants are present in Birmitrapur range.