Jalpaiguri (WB): Panic gripped Lataguri Bazaar area in West Bengal’s Jalpaiguri district on Thursday as an elephant herd strayed from the jungles and entered the place, officials said.

Senior officers of Jalpaiguri-Lataguri wildlife division rushed to the area to take stock of the situation, while a police team was deployed near Lataguri High School, close to the bazaar area, where the herd of 11 elephants, including calves, was seen.

The district administration imposed prohibitory orders under Section 144 of the Code of Criminal Procedure (CrPC) to avoid untoward incidents anywhere near the bazaar area or the school.

“We are monitoring the situation, and so far, it is under control,” the additional divisional forest officer of the wildlife wing, Janmejay Pal, said, adding that efforts are underway to chase the herd into Lataguri jungle.

Notably, an 18-year-old youth was allegedly killed by a Himalayan black bear in the same district on Wednesday, following which irate locals beat the animal to death, a forest officer said.

The incident took place at Meteli tea garden when Class 11 student Dinesh Khalkho was visiting home from Nagrakata Eklavya Residential School to see his ailing father.

Locals who found the student’s mutilated body in the garden later saw the bear roaming the area, and suspected that the animal killed him.

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