• The jumbo named Dulumoni had attacked humans earlier too
  • The elephant and the calf belong to an Indian politician
  • The animals were shifted to Kaziranga National Park

An unlikely "arrest" was made Thursday when police seized an elephant and its calf after the animal mom trampled a 14-year-old boy to death. The animal, named Dulumoni, was provoked by the boy's attempt to hug its calf.

The domesticated jumbos, owned by a politician in the Indian state of Assam, were soon handed over to the authorities of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, reported Hindustan Times.

The tragic incident happened on July 8 near Naharjan tea estate. The teen, who lived in the tea estate, tried to get close to the calf, and it infuriated the mother. The boy's death triggered widespread outrage among local people as this was the third time Dulumoni attacked a human.

Following public protest, the animals were taken to the nearby police station and kept chained there. A case for culpable homicide not amounting to murder (causing death by negligence) has been filed in this regard. "We seized the elephant and her calf in connection with the case and have handed them over to the forest department for custody," a senior police official told the news outlet.

As the police had no means of keeping the elephant and its calf, they were soon shifted to the national park. According to the director of Kaziranga National Park and Tiger Reserve, though it was rare, domestic animals can be seized by police as part of collecting evidence during the investigation of a case.

A 2019 statistic said Assam, a northeastern state, has the highest number of captive elephants in India. Of the 905 animals, 752 elephants are with private parties, while the state's Forest Department owns the rest.

In a similar incident, a tusker hired to be a part of a wedding procession had gone berserk last month, forcing the guests and groom to run for cover. Police said the animal panicked after hearing the sound of firecrackers. A video of the incident that went viral showed the jumbo charging at anything that came in its way, destroying the marquee set up for the occasion, and overturning at least four vehicles at the venue.

Indian authorities are investigating the deaths of at least 18 elephants in the northeastern state of Assam
Representational image. AFP / Biju BORO