The bizarre (and possibly) true story of an elephant trampling an older Indian woman, Maya Murmu, to death, only to show up to her funeral (theoretically to make sure the job was done), and stomp on her again, understandably caught the attention of Black Twitter last week.
Like we often do, Black twitter users were quick to ask what exactly did this woman do to anger an elephant enough for it to crash her funeral?
The answer or at least the Twitter rumor version of an answer soon followed. Claims on twitter and Tik Tok emerged that the woman was a part of poaching ring and helped poachers kill the elephants baby by distracting the mother.
However according to Snopes, there is zero actual evidence that the woman was killed because she was harassing the elephant or helping poachers kill the elephant’s baby.
Folks on twitter also pointed out that based on her location she was likely Adivasi, an indigenous group, who’ve faced poverty and displacement in India, that has pushed them closer to natural wild life habitats.
Murmu was gathering water near the Raipai village outside of the Dalma Wildlife Sanctuary, when a herd of elephants charged her, according to the Times of India. She attempted to flee but one of the elephants chased her down and trampled her.
Although villagers were able to rescue her, she was later pronounced dead at the hospital, according to reports.
That same day when villagers attempted to perform last rites, according to reports, a herd of twelve elephants “appeared from the forest,” damaging three houses in the village and trampling Murmu’s body again.
“We were terrified after witnessing the elephant herd on Thursday evening. We have never had such a ferocious elephant bunch earlier,” said a villager, according to The Times of India.
Wild elephant attacks are not unheard of in India, especially in rural villages close to their natural habitats. Here’s an excerpt from the Guardian in 2017:
A deadly conflict is under way between India’s growing population and its wildlife confined to ever-shrinking forests and grasslands. Data shows that about one person has been killed on average every day for the past three years by roaming tigers or rampaging elephants.
Roughly 1,144 people were killed between April 2014 to May 2017 by wild animals, and 1,052 people were killed specifically by elephants, according to the Guardian. And the truth is, Elephants are very smart and do have good memories.
If you’re at the end of this article, though and wondering what exactly did this woman do to deserve being pulled-up on at her funeral, we don’t actually know (sorry). And so far, I haven’t found any good reporters or solid news agencies, claiming they do know exactly what happened.
But what we do know, is there’s a whole lot more to this story than one elephant mama’s bloodthirsty quest for vengeance. So, you can stop laughing.