In eastern India, an elephant killed a 70-year-old woman before returning to trample her body during her funeral.
According to authorities, the event occurred on Thursday in the state of Odisha.
Maya Murmu was fetching water from a tube well in Raipal village, Mayurbhanj district, when the wild elephant emerged out of nowhere.
It had wandered from the Dalma wildlife sanctuary, which is about 200 kilometers from Mayurbhanj, according to authorities.
Ms Murmu was transported to hospital after being trampled and died from her injuries, according to police officer Lopamudra Nayak, who spoke to the Press Trust of India news agency.
According to reports, as family members gathered for Ms Murmu’s funeral and were completing final rituals, the same elephant appeared, took Ms Murmu’s body from the funeral pyre, and trampled it again, as astonished mourners looked on.
Only after the elephant had left was the family able to proceed with the ritual. It’s unknown if the animal hurt anyone else in the vicinity.
Elephant-human conflict is a typical occurrence in Odisha. Human encroachment on animal habitats has risen in the mineral-rich state, increasing the likelihood of confrontations between villagers and elephants.
A troubling trend in the state has been an increase in the frequency of elephant fatalities that are not natural. According to data provided by the state’s chief wildlife warden, at least 1,356 elephants have perished in Odisha since 2000-01, according to the IANS news agency.
In the seven months from April to October last year, at least 42 elephants died in the state.
Many more cases of human-elephant conflict have been reported from across the country.
A woman was killed by a wild elephant in a forest in central Chhattisgarh’s Bilaspur district in March of this year. According to authorities, her eight-year-old grandson was hurt while attempting to flee.
A 40-year-old woman was trampled to death by an elephant outside her home near Gudalur, in the Nilgiris district of Tamil Nadu, in May.
This article by Maroosha Muzaffar was first published by The Independent on 14 June 2022.
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