In what appears to be a freak accident, a forest guard chasing elephants at the Jhanjimukh area in the district was shot in the stomach late on Wednesday night and later declared dead in the hospital.
Jorhat DFO Davinder Suman said the preliminary reports indicate that the pump shot gun that the forest guard Hemanta Tamuly was using had reversed the cartridge which hit him on the stomach while he was trying to scare away the elephant herd.
Suman said that an internal enquiry would be done by the Assistant Conservator of Forests here and that an FIR had been lodged at the Teok Police station.
Suman said that from what she had been told by other forest guards accompanying him, seven of them including the driver of the vehicle went deep into the Jhanjimukh area on foot at about 7 pm to fend off the herd after leaving their vehicle as there was no motorable road.
The strategy which the forest department has adopted is not to allow the herd into human settlement area but keep them at bay on the outlying alluvial island of the Brahmaputra.
“I was told that the herd was to the right and the men led by deputy ranger Arun Kalita were moving in single file and shooting into the air when Tamuly was hit in the stomach. This was about 11 pm. A proper investigation will reveal the truth,” she said.
Suman said that as the place was very interior, the others who had to carry him from quite a distance to the vehicle lost precious time while taking him to the hospital.
“He collapsed on the way and was declared dead at the hospital,” she added.
Suman further said that there was a possibility at times of the gun reversing the cartridge if the case got swollen due to sweat.
The Jhanjimukh – Nimati area which falls under the Nimati beat office is prone to annual elephant depredations and last November an elephant was reportedly electrocuted in a paddy field.