Digapahandi: A farmer was killed in an elephant attack while he was guarding his harvest here in Ganjam district in the wee hours of Tuesday.
The deceased was identified as Alu Lachheya of Sanadanda Sahi. Another farmer, K Arakhita Patra, who was accompanying him escaped the attack by a whisker.
The incident sparked tension in the area as irate villagers led by former NAC chairman Prafulla Panda, Paresh Chandra Rath and Kureshu Moharana staged a dharna on Digapahandi- Chikiti main road for over an hour. They relented after tehsildar Adwait Kumar Swain, police and forest officials intervened,
The incident occurred when he and Patra were keeping a watch over their harvested paddy at a barn on Digapahandi-Nimpalli canal road Monday night.
They were sleeping when they woke up to the noise of trumpets.
The two suspected that a bull might be devouring their paddy and went out to drive it away but suddenly realized that they had come face to face with an elephant. The pachyderm lifted Lachheya with its tusk and battered him on the ground.
Patra managed to escape from the scene and informed Lachheya’s family about the incident. Badly bruised, he laid there unconscious when family members rescued him and rushed him to the community health centre. However, doctors declared him brought dead.
Tehsildar Adwait Kumar Swain and forest ranger Pramod Kumar Khadgaray visited the hospital and sympathized with the bereaved family. Police registered a case and sent the body for post-mortem.
Notably, elephants have become a menace in the area as several elephants are straying into the villages from Changudidei reserve forest at night and damaging crops. The tuskers Saturday strayed into the paddy yard of farmers at Nandagaon village and damaged their harvest.