Assam witnessed a shocking incident where 18 wild Asiatic elephants faced unusual deaths on a hillock in Nagaon locality on the night of 12 May 2021 that spread sensations among the people as they maintain adoration to elephants as a symbol of Lord Ganesh. The State government in northeast India has already ordered a probe into the incident to find reasons behind the herd’s sudden death. Following the direction of State chief minister Dr Himanta Biswa Sarma, the environment & forest minister Parimal Suklabaidya visited the site on Friday. Since day one, Suklabaidya, who was in the same portfolio under Sarbananda Sonowal’s cabinet during the last tenure of BJP led coalition government in Dispur, maintains that the pachyderms were killed due to thunderbolts.
Meanwhile a team of senior forest officials, wildlife specialists and veterinarians also arrived at the location on Bamuni hills inside Kundali proposed reserve forest under Kothiatali forest range, which is around 150 km east of Dispur, and started investigating the matter. The enquiry committee led by Deputy Conservator of forest, KK Deori is supposed to complete the detailed investigation by two weeks. But the locals and environmentalists find it difficult to agree with the lightening theory that killed all the elephants together. The residents nearby the forest area do not remember any such major thunder stroke that caused the death of giant animals. Moreover, killing of the entire herd by a thunderbolt emerge as a rare happening in the world. Assam’s well-known nature conservationist Soumyadeep Datta commented that he was waiting for the post mortem reports but instantly termed the thunderbolt as the killer very unlikely. Rather Datta, while talking to this correspondent, apprehended that it might be a case of poisoning, which is usual developments in different parts of the region. Director of conservation group Nature’s Beckon also added that Assam gives shelter to over 6,000 Asiatic elephants (India as a whole to nearly 30,000 bulky animals) and often they enter human colonies in search of foods. Datta expresses angers that the urbanization has caused severe damages to the forest and wildlife which should be restricted for the future of human race. Datta, a pioneer activist of rainforest movement in the region emphasized on providing legal status to reserve forests of Assam (declaring wildlife sanctuary or national park) so that the wildlife can be protected under the law. He expressed optimism that the saffron government would show its political will to continue working for the conservation of nature relentlessly