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বাংলা
Dhaka Tribune

Wild elephant attack victims form human chain, demand compensation

  • 34 killed by Indian elephants in last 10 years
  • 30 elephants died due to human attacks
Update : 11 May 2024, 06:35 PM

A group of people on Saturday formed a human chain demanding compensation for the deaths of 34 border residents crushed by Indian elephants and for damages to their homes and crops in the last 10 years.

Sherpur Zila Unnayan Songram Parishad organized the event in front of the National Press Club.

The organization's Chief Coordinator, Mohiuddin Ahmed, presided over the human chain. Bangladesher Samajtantrik Dal (BSD) General Secretary Razekuzzaman Ratan expressed solidarity with the protesters.

Speakers said that when elephants destroy crops and homes, locals are forced to kill the elephants. As a result, the Forest Department and local police harass the public by filing cases against them. They demand relief from this situation.

Mohiuddin Ahmed said that residents of Jhenaigati, Nalitabari, and Sreebordi in the hilly areas of Sherpur district are enduring sleepless nights. A group of 50-60 elephants has been residing in the Betkuchi Hill of Madhutila Ecopark in Nalitabari for nearly two weeks.

Although they hide in the jungle during the day, at night, they raid the fields in search of food, causing destruction in those upazilas as well. They return to the jungle at dawn after a night of destruction, attacking anyone they encounter.

On April 18, a farmer named Umar Ali from Betkuchi village in Puragau union, Nalitabari, was crushed to death by elephants while trying to protect his crops. This marks the second death due to elephant attacks within two months. Locals reported that a group of Indian wild elephants had been descending to the paddy fields on the hilly slopes of Betkuchi village, destroying the crops for a week.

Although the local police and the divisional forest officer of Mymensingh have arranged a government compensation of Tk3,00,000 for the family of the deceased farmer, neither the Government of India nor the Government of Assam has taken any steps or offered assistance to the affected and bereaved families so far.

According to the Forest Department and various media sources, since 2014, over the past decade, 34 people have died from elephant attacks in the Garo hills alone, with over 100 injured. During the same period, 30 elephants have died due to human attacks and other causes. In light of this, the Sherpur Zila Unnayan Songram Parishad has raised several demands during the human chain:

Firstly, every bereaved family must receive international law-compliant support and rehabilitation. 

The second demand is specific elephant sanctuaries must be established to ensure normal feeding and movement of elephants. If necessary, the governments of India and Bangladesh should jointly implement this project.

The third one is assistance and rehabilitation must be provided to farmers affected by crop damage.

Fourthly, Sherpur district should be declared a tourism district. Fifthly, Measures must be taken to prevent deaths of both humans and elephants.

Finally, those who destroy forest lands by setting fires must be punished, and the illegal extraction of sand, clay, and the felling of trees must be stopped.

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