Wayanad Elephant Attack: Kerala Govt Announces Ex Gratia. Rahul Gandhi Demands Centre, State Action

A 42-year-old man lost his life in a wild elephant attack on Saturday morning that occurred near Kerala’s Mananthavady. The victim, identified as Aji, passed away at Mananthavady Medical College where he was rushed after the attack took place around 7:30 am today, according to police, news agency PTI reported. CCTV footage captured the distressing moment when a wild elephant fitted with a radio collar breached the compound wall of a residence and launched a fatal assault on the man.

The Kerala government announced Rs 10 lakh compensation while also assuring a job to one of the family members of the 42-year-old man.

According to the PTI, Forest Minister AK Saseendran described the incident as "shocked" and expressed concern over the recurring incidents of human-wildlife conflict in Wayanad. He mentioned a recent incident where a forest wildlife watcher sustained severe injuries in a tiger attack and is currently undergoing medical treatment.

The Minister said more response teams will be dispatched to the area and a decision on whether to drive. the elephant back into the forest or relocate it to a rehabilitation center would be made soon. Saseendran said the Chief Minister’s office looked into the concerns of the people of Wayanad, who are experiencing animal attacks and subsequent crop damage.

In response to the incident, local residents expressed their outrage by staging impromptu protests, blocking Major routes including the Mananthavady-Mysore, Mananthavady-Kozhikode, and Thalassery roads. The protest escalated as vehicles belonging to the area’s MLA and the District police chief were obstructed by demonstrators chanting ‘go back’.

Local residents alleged that the elephant had crossed the Kerala border and entered the Kuruvadweep area early in. the morning, criticizing the forest department for failing to issue timely warnings. To address safety concerns, the district administration has implemented prohibitory orders in multiple wards of Mananthavady.

This incident comes after a recent instance involving a Karnataka elephant named ‘Thanneer Komban’, which had entered Mananthavady town and wandered the streets for over 16 hours. However, upon being shifted to Karnataka, unfortunately, that elephant had died. 

ALSO READ | Kerala: Radio-Collared Elephant Tramples Man To Death In Wayanad, Residents Demand Action

Wayanad Elephant Attack: Wanayad MP Rahul Gandhi Demands Centre, State Action

Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed his sadness on the untimely demise of Panachiyil Aji. He posted on his "I am shocked by the untimely demise of Panachiyil Aji from Payyampally, Mananthavady who succumbed to a fatal attack by an elephant."

"Another life has been tragically lost in Wayanad due to a wildlife attack. He was the sole breadwinner of his family and the primary caregiver to his mother. My heart goes out to his family, especially his ailing mother and young children," he also wrote.

Further, he stated, "The spate of wildlife attacks, especially elephant attacks have caused tremendous damage to the lives and livelihoods of the people in Wayanad. They have paid a huge price due to the rising instances of human-animal conflict."

I am shocked by the untimely demise of Panachiyil Aji from Payyampally, Mananthavady who succumbed to a fatal attack by an elephant.

Another life has been tragically lost in Wayanad due to a wildlife attack. He was the sole breadwinner of his family and the primary caregiver to…

— Rahul Gandhi (@RahulGandhi) February 10, 2024

"We have repeatedly demanded for intervention to mitigate such attacks in Wayanad, particularly to protect our farmers. However, the lack of a comprehensive action plan to tackle this issue has only aggravated the conflict. I urge the Central and State governments to take decisive steps and put in place a response mechanism that can protect both our communities and the wildlife of the region," he added in his post demanding to mitigate such attacks.

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