Wayanad elephant attack: Kerala govt announces Rs ten lakh compensation to man's family

A major protest broke out at Mananthavady over the death, with the locals taking it to the streets with the body of Aji, who died at the Mananthavady Medical College where he was admitted following the attack that occurred at around 7.30 am today.
Aji, Wayanad, Kerala
Aji, Wayanad, Kerala

Wayanad (Kerala) | The Kerala government on Saturday announced Rs ten lakh compensation and assured a job to one of the family members of the 42-year old man, who was trampled to death by a wild elephant this morning at Mananthavady near here.

A major protest broke out at Mananthavady over the death, with the locals taking it to the streets with the body of Aji, who died at the Mananthavady Medical College where he was admitted following the attack that occurred at around 7.30 am today.

However, after the announcement of various relief assured by the government, the agitators ended their protest and handed over the body for post-mortem.

Forest Minister A K Saseendran announced that the government will take care of the education of the two children of the deceased man.

District Collector Renu Raj, who held the conciliatory talks with the protesters, told the media that the demand for Rs 50 lakh as compensation will be forwarded for the consideration of the government.

"We will hand over Rs ten lakh compensation on Monday. The district authorities will send a recommendation to provide a permanent job for his wife," Raj said.

Meanwhile, a special team has been constituted to capture the wild elephant which the government assured will be shifted to Muthanga elephant camp.

Saseendran said based on the previous experience in connection with the capture of Thanneer Komban, the special task force will be cautious in handling this elephant.

He said the forest officials have started the process to capture the animal.

Meanwhile, Wayanad MP and senior Congress leader Rahul Gandhi expressed shock at the "untimely demise" of Panachiyil Aji from Payyampally near Mananthavady.

"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," Rahul Gandhi posted on X.

He said the spate of wildlife attacks, especially elephant attacks have caused tremendous damage to the lives and livelihoods of the people in Wayanad and that they have paid a huge price due to the rising instances of human-animal conflict.

"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," Gandhi posted.

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 destroys the compound wall and chases the man.

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

Currently, the district administration has issued prohibitory orders in multiple wards of Mananthavady.

Recently, an elephant from Karnataka, called 'Thanneer Komban', fitted with a radio collar had ventured into Mananthavady town and roamed the streets for over 16 hours after which it was tranquilised. However, upon being shifted to Karnataka, that elephant had died.

Saseendran had earlier termed as 'shocking' the death of the man and said the frequent news of man-animal conflict coming from Wayanad was a matter of concern.

On Friday night, a forest wildlife watcher was grievously injured in a tiger attack and he is undergoing treatment, he said.

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