From Bhupen Goswami
GUWAHATI :n Assam, anger has erupted across the country following the death of 18 wild Asian elephants in Bamanpahar in Nagaon district. International Wildlife Conservation Organisation (IEF) seeks report from Environment Ministry of Government of India on elephant death in Assam The death of the elephant has sparked outrage from international wildlife organizations besides the country. It is absolutely impossible for such a large number of elephants to die of lightning simultaneously in the country. Experts say this is a big secret. Because 18 elephants cannot die like this because of lightning. On the other hand, so many elephants have been killed by forest and wildlife smugglers as part of the entire conspiracy. Somebody is working in connivance with the Assam Wildlife and Forest Department. Experts feared that it included senior officials of the wildlife and forest department. It is suspected that senior officials of Assam Wildlife and Forest Department were involved in the incident. Experts in elephants, nature conservation, electrical engineering, etc., strongly ruled out the possibility of lightning after the death of 18 wild Asian elephants at Bamanpahar in Nagaon district on the night of May 12.
Some eminent speakers also termed it as a planned killing of those heavy animals with electricity. The recently organized Webinar, organized by Nature Bacon, an active conservation group in the region, revealed various suggestive interpretations and was anchored by its director Soumyadeep Dutta, where the guest speakers strongly supported the demand for the postmortem of the animals to be made public at the earliest. It may be recalled that state forest minister Parimal Sulebidya visited the site where the bodies of 18 elephants were found on May 12. Sukalbedya maintained his view that the entire herd of elephants was killed with a strong thunderbolt. However, they had specific evidence to support this principle and surprisingly the forest department will have to disclose the contents of the post mortem report. Dutta in his opening address claimed that the forest department’s reluctance to make the report public has given more weight to the suspicion that elephants did not die due to any natural cause. He also doubted the authenticity of the histopathology report leaked by the Nagaon Division One office and termed it as a conspiracy to harass the public about the deaths of elephants. While wildlife lovers demanded the forest department to reveal the exact cause of the deaths of those animals, a team of graduate engineers made a strong statement that the principle of electricity was absurd. The group cried out at the government’s indifference in making people aware of the real cause of the deaths of those elephants.
Green Nature Secretary Bubul Sharma claimed that elephants are generally slightly different from each other during summer days and hence a thunderbolt cannot kill 18 animals. Sharma said, “On May 11, a herd of wild elephants moved from Sukanguri mountain to Bamnipahar via Bamnigram and faced long fencing to cover a new standing solar power plant in the elephant habitat. Sharma, a native of the area, indicated that the fencing forced the herd to change course and eventually faced disaster. Noted conservationist Bhaskar J Barua, who has a background in electrical engineering, argued that high flash could have destroyed trees, green leaves and microorganisms on the soil, but he did not pay heed to it. After visiting the spot, they found that there were a large number of bags of salts which Barua feared was brought in to increase the conductivity of the soil or to speed up the decomposition process of those affected elephants. He also denied that the area was rocky to act as a good conductor of electricity, but was actually a heavy top soil with vegetation.Barua finally demanded a high level investigation team comprising elephant experts, energy professionals, geological survey of India representatives, geology department of Gauhati University etc. to investigate the incident.
No one gets time to change their position during an incident of lightning, as the thunderbolt falls on the victim’s heart. In the special incident, the elephants got enough time while dying and there was no sign of burn injury on their bodies. Also everyone saw fresh and green leaves on the site,” Saikia said, adding that the post mortem reports are very important to ascertain the mystery of their deaths. Elephant expert Davipen Chandra Kalita rubbished the concept of killing all those elephants (by lightning) as they were close to each other and made clear that during the summer season (read hot days like in May) elephants do not stick together with the aim of maintaining their body temperature. They believe that there were more elephants in the herd and the authorities should look for the rest, who survived that night. Dr. Sanjan Hazarika, researcher at IIT Roorkee, said that the elephants were found in a scattered place and in such a situation it is difficult to accept that electricity killed everyone. A large-scale thunderbolt could kill four to five elephants and injure the rest (to survive anyway). Moreover, the possibility of repeated lightning at the same location (to kill more elephants) are not acceptable under any scientific logic.The forest department should have mapped the dead elephants (as they were found) where each other’s distances could be gauged. Perhaps this was not done,” Hazarika said, “the power strike was always hit at a high point, but in the case of the Bamni mountain incident it has been argued that the thunderbolt has been killed on a low-altitude tree, which is completely irrational. Moreover, bubbles from the mouths of some dead elephants do not justify that they died due to lightning due to lightning.
Manesh Lochan Das, a chemist, also stressed that powerful electricity can cause structural changes in the soil and should have been considered during the investigation into the Chanmunipahar incident. Referring to the leaked histopathology report, Das mentioned that there was no mention of voltage, but it was said to have burn injury due to electrocution.Therefore, he asked for a scientific inquiry into the matter so that all necessary answers related to his shocking deaths could be received. Senior journalist Nava Thakuria, an engineering graduate, rejected the principle of electricity outright and cautioned that 18 heavy animals cannot die simultaneously due to thunderbolts. If all those elephants die of electrification, it could be a case of man-made disaster, if this was the reason behind the concerned authorities not disclosing the forensic report, it could be a case of man-made disaster.