Kolkata: Sunday started on a typical note for 43-year-old Abdul Mannan. He went out to buy some home essentials and was checking out vegetables from a roadside seller. And then, a calf fell on him from 70ft above.
The six-month-old, 85kg animal died on the spot but Mannan had a miraculous escape with a fractured leg, ribs and serious head injury.
The calf was kept in captivity on the terrace of a four-storey building for the past week allegedly by one of the tenants. According to local residents, it tore off the rope it was tied to, jumped over a 3ft wall and fell directly on Mannan. The bizarre incident happened around 8am on Sunday at Masjid Bari Lane in Tiljala.
“The tenant brought the cow to the terrace last week and kept it tied to a corner. Stacks of hay were also kept for the animal to eat. He had even hired a young man to bathe the calf,” said a person who lives in the building opposite 15G Masjid Bari Lane. “After it was bathed on Sunday, it grew restless and ran around the terrace before the rope hung around its neck tore off and the animal plunged from the terrace,” he said.
As the animal crashed on Mannan, both of them slumped on the ground in a pool of blood. The calf died on the spot while bystanders took Mannan to a local nursing home before admitting him to Calcutta National Medical College and Hospital.
“I was checking cucumbers while bending down when I suddenly felt something very heavy falling on me. As I lay on the ground, I realised it was a calf and lost sense,” said Mannan, who sells peanuts and sprout mixtures outside schools.
Mannan suffered a fracture on his left leg, cracks in a rib and wounds on the back of his head, including multiple injuries all over his body that required as many as 18 stitches. “I cannot believe my husband was almost killed by a calf falling from the sky. I thank God he is alive,” said his wife Seema Begum.
The owner of the building, Anjum Alam, said the calf belonged to one of the tenants who had left the building two months ago and claimed he had possibly sneaked in the calf. “The tenant, Md Alam, had left two months ago. Possibly, he still has the keys to the terrace and that is how he kept the calf in the building without our knowledge. We are trying to track him,” said Alam, whose family owns five shops on the ground floor of the building.
Alam, however, added he had taken care of all the medical expenses of Mannan since it happened outside their building. “We know he is a poor man and since the incident happened because a calf jumped off our building, we also bear some responsibility for it,” he said. No police complaint was made in the case.
According to locals, several residents in the Tiljala and Kushtia area keep cattle on the terrace. Khatals were declared illegal in the city municipal area in the 1980s but despite the ban, several khatals and khatal-like clusters still flourish in several parts of the city, including Tiljala.