Animal attacks in Kerala: UDF MLAs take out protest march to state forest minister's residence

In the wake of increasing instances of man-animal conflicts in Kerala, the Congress-led UDF opposition on Tuesday carried out a protest march to the state forest minister's residence and sought his resignation.
An irate mob blocking forest officials near Kattikulam in Wayanad district
An irate mob blocking forest officials near Kattikulam in Wayanad district

Thiruvananthapuram | In the wake of increasing instances of man-animal conflicts in Kerala, the Congress-led UDF opposition on Tuesday carried out a protest march to the state forest minister's residence and sought his resignation.

Several UDF MLAs holding up a banner and placards marched to the residence of Forest Minister A K Saseendran alleging that the government was failing to protect people and their property from wild animal attacks.

The MLAs, in the banner, said 'it is not the elephant which is to be blamed, but the incompetent administration', in reference to the incident of a man being trampled to death by a wild elephant in Wayanad's Mananthavady three days ago.

After the MLAs, including Deputy Leader of Opposition in the assembly P K Kunhalikutty, were blocked by police using barricades, they shouted slogans in front of them demanding Saseendran's resignation.

Leader of the Opposition in the assembly, V D Satheesan, who too joined the protesting MLAs, told reporters that the state forest minister was allegedly not doing the needful to protect the life and property of the people.

He also alleged that the government has no long or short-term plans to address the issue of man-animal conflicts in the state, especially in the hilly areas.

He said that the government was being indifferent to the plight of the people.

On Monday, the UDF staged a walkout from the Kerala Assembly after the government refused to discuss the rising human-animal conflict in the hilly district of Wayanad.

In the assembly, Saseendran said that the government had decided to form an inter-state coordination committee to monitor the movement of wild animals across state borders.

Meanwhile, the forest department is yet to capture the wild elephant which is fitted with a radio collar by the Karnataka forest department.

The state government had on Saturday announced Rs 10 lakh compensation and assured a job to a family member of Aji who was trampled to death by the elephant.

The CCTV visuals of the incident showed Aji and others trying to escape from the wild elephant and jumping into the compound of a house. However, the jumbo damages the compound wall and chases the man.

Locals alleged that the elephant had crossed the Kerala border from Karnataka and reached Kuruvadweep locality near here early in the morning, but the Forest department had failed to announce this and warn the people from venturing out.

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