Humans less protected than wildlife in Kerala: Syro-Malabar Church Archbishop Raphael Thattil

Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil consoles the family of Panachiyil Ajeesh, a victim of elephant attack. Photo: Special arrangement

Wayanad: Syro-Malabar Church Major Archbishop Raphael Thattil said here on Monday that the state should ensure better protection for human beings who live near jungles.

Archbishop Thattil, who was here to participate in the Holy Week events of the Mananthavadi Diocese, visited the house of Panachiyil Ajeesh at Chaligada. Ajeesh was killed in an elephant attack. “Going by the trend, I am sceptical about the present system of protection ensured for human beings in the state,” Thattil told mediapersons.

“We have stringent laws to protect wildlife but when it comes to man versus animal, man is less protected. Human habitats are fast becoming unsafe for living,” the Archbishop said. He said temporary fixes were not the solution. “If wild elephants are naughty, they should be captured and rehabilitated.”

The Archbishop also urged the state government to give up a 'miserly attitude' toward providing solatium to the bereaved families.

In his Palm Sunday sermon at the Holy Cross Archiepiscopal Pilgrim Centre at Nadavayal in Wayanad, Archbishop Thattil raised the issue of human-animal conflict and the plight of people living near forests. “While observing certain policies of the state on wildlife conservation, there is a misconception in the minds of people that wild animals are given more importance than human beings. Such an attitude towards humanity could raise the question 'Is the value of human beings getting diminished?'”

Addressing the laity, the Archbishop had said he was concerned about the crises faced by the agrarian community. “During the holy week liturgy, the church would try to pacify those affected through prayers. Each life lost in wildlife attacks is precious and their sorrows are inexplicable.”

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