Amit is a Community Correspondent and an Adivasi inhabitant of the conflict-prone region of Khunti. In the escalating conflict between a draconian state and violent insurgency, Amit believes that the ones who lose out most are the innocents caught in between. He has witnessed thousands of violations that the state and insurgents have committed in the name of ‘development’ and…
Jharkhand villages ill-equiped to deal with elephant herds.
About the Video: One night, a few years ago, Community Correspondent Amit Topno's house in the tribal village of Nichitpur, District Khunti, Jharkhand came under siege from a pack of rampaging elephants. The walls of his house were knocked down and his granary which stored an year round stock of grain was pillaged and destroyed. Amit says that he thanks providence that he and his family managed to escape with their lives.
Nichitpur is situated in the vicinity of an elephant corridor. Wandering herds frequently enter villages causing much destruction of crops and property. To drive them away, the villagers try to intimidate the behemoths by creating noise and confusion by shouting, beating drums, clanging utensils and waving lit bamboo torches. There are times when such traditional approaches fail and the people have to retreat and run for their lives, leaving their fields and home at the mercy of the tuskers.
It is the duty of the Forest Department to equip the villages with high rate of human elephant conflicts with high beam torches and firecrackers. In cases of damage, the department conducts an inquiry and a compensation is arranged for. But Amit says that the process of applying is tedious and by the time, the money arrives, it is too little and too late. Hesays that the village would able to safeguard itself better is the department would only agree to 20 more torches and a regular supply of firecrackers. Not at all a tall order, he says.
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