By Sujay Khanra
KALAIKUNDA: A woman was crushed to death under debris of her house wall demolished by elephants while her sister-in-law escaped with injuries early on Tuesday in West Midnapore's Kalaikunda.
Two elephants that hail from West Midnapore itself strayed out of Kalaikunda forest in the dark and entered adjoining Krishnarakshitchowk, apparently in search of food. The elephants attacked the house of the Mullicks and broke down the wall. Sleeping beside the wall was housewife Malati Mullick, 40. She was crushed to death under the debris of the wall that the elephants knocked down over her. Malati's sister-in-law Namita sustained injuries as some debris fell on her too.
The victim's son Harekrishna alleged, "As the elephants attacked, we informed the forest department and the local police station. But teams from both reached our village much later." Malati's body was recovered while Namita was taken to the local hospital where she was admitted.
DFO Kharagpur Anjan Guha, who has jurisdiction over the Kalaikunda range, rejected villagers' claims of slow response and laxity by the forest department. "We try to ensure that elephants remain within forest limits but they do stray out at times. This time the two elephants entered the village in the dark. We are arranging to compensate the victim's family."