Angry Wayanad crowd tell ministers to seek votes from elephants, wild boars

Alna and Alan, the children of elephant-attack victim Panachiyil Ajeesh, pose questions to ministers K Rajan and M B Rajesh at their house in Wayanad on Tuesday. Photo: Screengrab

Wayanad: A three-man ministerial committee including Minister for Forests and Wildlife A K Saseendran on Tuesday struggled for answers in front of the kin of men killed by wild animals in Wayanad.

Ministers M B Rajesh (Local Administration) and K Rajan (Revenue) were joined by District Collector Renu Raj and other officials.

The questions that silenced the ministers came from two minor children of Panachiyil Ajeesh of Payyampalli in the district. Ajeesh was trampled to death by rogue wild elephant Belur Makhna on February 10.

Ajeesh's daughter Alna (14) reminded the ministers of the deaths of her father and Paul P V, a guide who was trampled to death by an elephant herd. “The other day, Paul died. If you had given him a rifle, he wouldn't have died. Why couldn't you give them a rifle, instead of a bamboo stick?” Alna asked the ministers. Her younger brother, Alan (nine) who was listening in, asked: “Can we chase away wild animals with a cracker?”

Minister Rajesh tried to save face by deflecting the blame onto the central government. “That is why we are planning to approach the central government to amend the forest laws,” he said. But Alna soon reminded him of the ground reality: “Even after the deaths of many, you haven't succeeded in capturing the elephants.” Someone in the crowd shouted: “How many more should die till then?”

Outside the house, Minister Saseendran had to undergo a bitter trial from the crowd. While the minister tried to explain his government's position, someone intervened: “You should say the same thing when you come seeking votes next time.” Another man said: “Next time he would go to the jungle to seek votes from elephants and wild boars.”

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