Human-animal conflict: Prohibitory orders issued for 2 days amid mounting protests

Protest with Paul's mortal remains in Pulppally. Photo: Manorama

Wayanad: The Wayanad Collector on Saturday issued prohibitory orders in the district for two days in light of the escalating tensions here.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan directed to convene a high-level meeting of officials to discuss the human-animal conflict on February 20 at Kalpetta.

Though a high-level team of officials including District Collector Dr Renu Raj are leading the discussions with top officials of forest department on resolving human-animal conflict, the protest is still on with its all fire and fury at Pulppally with thousands gathering in the town preventing the police from taking the body of Paul, the latest victim of wild elephant attack, home.

Paul's mortal remains was taken to his home at Pakkam about 3 km from Pulppally by 1.30 pm for his final rites after the intervention of some priests and leaders of political parties.

Meanwhile, an all-party meeting has decided to recommend the state government to give Rs 50 lakh compensation to the family of Paul. Other recommendations include an amount of Rs 11 lakh emergency aid for the family, a take over of Paul's debt by the State and job for the kin. The state government should also take over all the educational needs of Sona, daughter of Paul.

Funeral procession of victim

The mourning procession carrying the mortal remains of Paul, the forest department employee, had transformed into a protest march against the forest department and state government in Pulpally on Saturday. During the protest march, at various points protestors started pelting stones and throwing bottles at the police and people’s representatives.

A vehicle of the forest department was attacked by the protestors who had deflated the tyres of the vehicle and torn open the top cover. Protestors also laid a wreath on the jeep and also put the remains of a cow killed by a tiger yesterday night, on it. Police resorted to lathicharge twice when the mob went on demolishing the shops and unleashing attacks on officials at Pulpally town. A large number of priests and nuns also participated in the procession.

Absence of Forest Minister flayed

Opposition Legislative Members T Siddique and IC Balakrishnan who were in Pulppally to lead the discussions of the all-party meeting,  were assaulted by a mob.

Meanwhile, T Siddique said that the failure of the state government resulted in the public fury. “The forest minister AK Saseendran, who was also in charge of the district, did not event visit the victims' homes,” Siddique said. The MLAs added that there was an attempt to politicize the issue by a section of people.

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