Day and night strike starts in Sinkukandam seeking solution for wild elephant attack

Idukki protest
Natives stage protest in Idukki. Photo: Manorama News

Idukki: Residents of the tribal colonies here on Friday have started a day and night strike to mark their protest against the High Court directive which stayed the operation to capture the wild tusker Arikomban.

The strike commenced at Sinkukandam, a village that has been witnessing frequent wild elephant raids. The protesters declared that they will continue the strike till Arikomban is captured.

Meanwhile, Sinkukandam native Wilson was attacked by another wild elephant on Thursday night. He suffered minor injuries.

Residents of Pooppara, another village in the district also joined the agitation demanding a long-term solution to the human-animal conflict. Public representatives will participate in the dharna at Pooppara on Friday at 3 pm. An all-party meeting held on Thursday decided to continue the strike with the participation of the people who were attacked by wild elephants.

The residents also demanded the court send an expert committee for reviewing the situation of the places hit by the wild elephant attacks.

Arikomban, around 35-year-old wild tusker, has been raiding ration shops where rice for public distribution is stored. It also attacked many houses and charged at trucks plying on the Munnar roads. 

The forest department and district authority prepared a detailed plan to capture the tusker after receiving complaints from the residents. But the High Court issued a stay order on the mission observing that areas disturbed by the wild elephants had been an elephant habitat before the tribals were resettled there.

The division bench, according to the protesters, instead of helping them, called for records and reports on the resettlement of tribal people in the area back in 2000. The court said, "If it was an elephant habitat, you had no business resettling people there and putting them in danger. The court said that resettling people in an elephant habitat was the root of the entire problem."

"We will examine it. If it was an elephant habitat, then your policymakers went way off the board. If people were resettled there despite being aware of this fact, we will come down heavily on those responsible. Errors in history can be corrected later. We need to find whether the mistake happened and if yes, correct it," the bench said, and declined to issue any direction in the interim stay for capture and captivity of the wild tuskers, including 'Arikomban'.
(With IANS inputs)

The comments posted here/below/in the given space are not on behalf of Onmanorama. The person posting the comment will be in sole ownership of its responsibility. According to the central government's IT rules, obscene or offensive statement made against a person, religion, community or nation is a punishable offense, and legal action would be taken against people who indulge in such activities.