A photograph by Indian photographer Biplab Hazra, which shows an elephant and its calf fleeing after being set on fire by villagers in Bankura, West Bengal, India, was awarded the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Award 2017 by Sanctuary Asia on Sunday.

The photograph, which Hazra titled “Hell Is Here,” was taken on State Highway 9 in Jhargram district of West Bengal. It showed flames engulfing a baby elephant, which seemed to be crying in pain. The fire was the result of a mob hurling tar bombs at a herd of elephants, in order to ward them off from invading their area.

Hazra, who is a brick manufacturer from Bishnupur, West Bengal, said the calf "somehow survived."

“I had never seen such an incident in 14 years of my wildlife photography career,” Hazra said, the New Indian Express reported. “All my concentration was only on clicking the photograph."

“The calf may not have been intentionally set on fire by the villagers living in the vicinity of the elephant corridor that stretches from southwestern West Bengal up to Saranda forest in Jharkhand, but bursting crackers and throwing fireballs on elephant herds has been a common practice in this part of West Bengal,” he added.

According to Sanctuary Nature Foundation, which awarded the photo, over 70 percent of elephant species are spread across Indian states such as West Bengal, Assam, Odisha, Chhattisgarh, Tamil Nadu etc. However, the elephant population is depleting fast due to the villagers mistreating the herds.

"The ignorance and bloodlust of mobs that attack herds for fun, is compounded by the plight of those that actually suffer damage to land, life and property by wandering elephants and the utter indifference of the central and state government to recognize the crisis that is at hand,” the organization said in an accompanying note, the First Post reported.

Mainaz Mazumdar, a resident of the Baroda village of Bankura, commented below the photo shared by Sanctuary Asia on Facebook: “Our village is frequently invaded by such wild and unruly animals that come all the way from dalma range of forests. The fault, of course, lies with us. Because of heavy habitat destructions (in this case the forest) the elephants are coming down onto the settlements. This has been a great problem over the years.”

Mazumdar further mentioned a group known as the “Hulia Party” is hired under such circumstances to save their village from the beasts. The weapons used by the group to drive away the elephants include firecrackers, big and bright lights, harpoons, torches, bows and arrows. They also make noise using tin drums to distract the elephants.

Although Mazumdar did not disagree the elephants received inhuman treatment in their hands, he pointed out the beasts were responsible for causing undue mayhem in their place of habitation.

“They wasted paddy fields, potato fields, fields of wheat and so on. Many farmers committed suicide because of these damages. But worse still, they killed innocent people too,” Mazumdar wrote.

International Business Times has reached out to Sarkar for comment.