Off-roaders trespass on forest land in Idukki, court grants bail after poaching charges slapped

The youngsters were allegedly spotted inside the reserve forest at Aavarukutty. Photo: Special arrangement

Idukki: Ten youngsters, who were arrested for trespassing onto the Malayattoor Reserve Forest, were granted bail by an Adimaly court here on Thursday.

Officials of the Valara Forest Station in the Neryamangalam Range had booked the youths on charges of poaching after entering the forest with a domestic dog.

The youths from Kolenchery and Thodupuzha were spotted, on a rocky riverside 30 metres off the forest road, by a patrolling team on Wednesday afternoon.

“The youngsters were spotted at a place called Aavarukutty near Kurathikudy. They were travelling on a road within the reserve,” Joji James, Forest Ranger in charge of Neryamangalam Range, told Onmanorama.

Off-roading is ok, trespassing not ok
A ride through this off-road that connects Mamalakkandam near Kuttampuzha and Mankulam in Idukki has been trending on social media. But forest officials said that tourists could only use the road and not trespass into the forest.

“This off-road was earlier used for transporting bamboo from the forest and is mainly used by tribals of Kurathikudy to reach Kuttampuzha and Irumbupalam regions. Though there is a court order which allows the public to use this bumpy off-road, the tourists who take a drive through this road should not enter the forest and they are made to sign an affidavit,” said the ranger.

The ten youths were in two jeeps and had a dog, which the ranger said, was not allowed inside the forest. The determine the nature of the domesticated dog, the forest officials have sought the assistance of a veterinarian.

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