Elephant herd creates panic in Munnar's residential areas following fatal attack on auto driver

The animals settled close to the residential colony, which is home to approximately 1,000 families. Photo: Screengrab/ Manorama News.

Munnar: A herd of wild elephants entered a residential area of Munnar on Tuesday, creating panic among the locals. This comes a day after an auto-rickshaw driver, Suresh Kumar (46), was killed by a wild tusker near Kannimala Top Division.

Although the residents managed to chase the herd of elephants back into the forest by making noises, the animals settled close to the residential colony, which is home to approximately 1,000 families.

According to natives, elephants kept roaming around the area on Monday also. Watchers and officials from the Forest Department have reached the spot and are working to ensure the elephants do not return to the area.

Meanwhile, the series of wildlife encounters have led to widespread protest in Munnar, following the death of Suresh Kumar, who was killed after an elephant attacked the auto-rickshaw he was travelling on Monday. The incident happened around 10 pm when the elephant overturned the auto carrying six passengers. Suresh, who fell under the tusker was subsequently thrown by the animal multiple times. He sustained severe injuries and died at the spot.

In the attack, three other passengers, Yesaki Raj, his wife Rachana and their 12-year-old daughter Kuttipriya, suffered injuries and were admitted to the Tata High Range Hospital in Kannimala Top Division. Reportedly, they were returning home after attending Kuttipriya’s school annual day celebration when the incident happened.

Three other passengers escaped without injuries. The elephant, which was stationed near the auto-rickshaw after the attack also caused considerable delay in bringing the injured to the hospital.

Residents, in protest, alleged negligence by the forest department in addressing elephant threats in the area. The Left Democratic Front (LDF) launched a hartal in KDH village limits on Tuesday, causing traffic restrictions and other protest activities. Congress also organised demonstrations including road blockades.

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