Jharkhand's anti-Maoist push drives tuskers wild

"These elephants are running amok in villages and damaging standing crops and houses," Ranchi circle conservator K.N. Thakur told IANS. "Villagers are somehow protecting their lives."

There are 18 elephants in the rampaging herd and villagers are angry at the damage. "They have threatened to set the forest office on fire," Thakur said. "Forest officials have assured them that they would call experts and train them on how to drive the rampaging herd away."

Standing crops in more than 1,000 acres have been damaged and more than a dozen houses have been damaged. No deaths in these settlements have been reported.
"The movement of security forces in forest areas somehow encroaches upon the corridor of elephants," a Saranda forest official said. "Gun-shots scare elephants and they migrate to other parts and vent their anger."

Jharkhand Police and the Central Reserve Police Force (CRPF) had launched Operation Monsoon against Maoists deep in Saranda jungle. Many bunkers of the Left-wing militia were desroyed and 33 people arrested.

Forest officials say they will take up the issue with police to coordinate anti-Maoist operations so that the elephants are not forced to human habitats.

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