Millennium Post

'Trained' elephant tramples 27-year-old man to death

Darjeeling: A patawala (one who collects fodder for trained elephants) was trampled to death by a trained elephant at Jaldapara Wildlife Sanctuary on Friday.

The incident occurred at around 7.30 am at the Holong beat area of Jaldapara. Julius Kharia (27), the patawala was returning after giving Mainak, the trained elephant, a bath. Suddenly Mainak, threw Kharia on the ground and trampled him.
Kharia was rushed to the Alipurduar District Hospital where he was declared brought dead. Incidentally the incident occurred during an ongoing 5 day long elephant, mahout (elephant keeper) and patawala training camp which had commenced on November 7.
"It is a very unfortunate incident. We had organised the camp as there are many mahouts and patawalas who are not so well connected with the elephants. Training is being conducted so that they can handle the elephants better. We will continue with such camps," stated Binay Krishna Burman, Minister in charge of Forest, Government of
West Bengal.
Incidentally there are 64 trained elephants in Jaldapara. In the past also Mainak had trampled a mahout to death.
The trained elephants are put to different tasks including driving away wild elephants; capturing wild elephants; clearing forest roads and even for elephant safaris in Holong.
"It is very unfortunate. We have started an investigation" stated Ujjal Ghosh, CCF, North Bengal.
When asked if compensation will be provided to the next of kin of the deceased, Ghosh stated that on humanitarian grounds the department will try to extend all help.

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