A mahout paints his elephant on the eve of the annual Rath Yatra, or chariot procession, outside the Jagannath temple in Ahmedabad, India, July 5, 2016. REUTERS/Amit Dave
An Indian mob tried to burn elephants alive, according to an award-winning photograph which captured the incident.
In a photograph titled “Hell Is Here,” taken by Biplab Hazra, an adult elephant and calf are seen running from a crowd of people throwing a “flaming tar ball.” This startling picture received the Sanctuary Wildlife Photography Awards 2017 and is featured in the magazine Sanctuary Asia, the New York Post reported.
The Bankura district of West Bengal is known for having tense relations between humans and elephants. This unsettling image is also quite common, according to the Sanctuary Asia Foundation.
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“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 magazine wrote in an addendum adjacent to the photograph. “Hell is now and here.”
India boasts 70 percent of the world’s total population of elephants; however, tensions have escalated between the residents and native elephants. The relatively peaceful beasts killed 29 people in the West Bengal Bankura district in 2016, the Hindustan Times reported.