Elephant tramples shopkeeper to death, triggers protest

A 20-year-old shopkeeper was trampled to death by a pet elephant in Kushinagar's Gopalpur village on Sunday. The elephant attacked Rakesh Ojha when he came out to offer him biscuits.

The police said the elephant lifted Rakesh with his trunk, smashed him to the ground and then trampled over him, killing him on the spot. The mahout could not control the animal. After killing Rakesh, the pachyderm calmed down, they said.

Later, the villagers staged a demonstration at Gopalpur crossing and demanded action against the owner of the elephant and its mahout. The blockade was lifted after assurance from police.

On the basis of a complaint by Rakesh's uncle Rajinder Ojha, an FIR was lodged against the elephant's owner, Virendra Tiwari, and mahout Israfil. The mahout was arrested and produced in court, which released him on bail.

Police said the role of Tiwari, who is a businessman from a neighbouring village, is being probed.

Station Officer, Tariyasujan police station, O P Rai said the mahout used to take the elephant through the village daily to the nearby thickets for feeding. Every day, Rakesh's father Dinesh Ojha used to offer the elephant biscuits when it passes by his shop.

"On Sunday, Dinesh gave him biscuits and also asked his son to offer some. When Rakesh came out, the elephant caught him in its trunk, smashed him on the road and then trampled him," Rai said.

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