Man killed in wild elephant attack in Pathanamthitta; natives stage protest

Biju was attacked by the elephant around 1 am on Monday. Photo: Screengrab/ Manorama News

Pathanamthitta: In a tragic incident, an autorickshaw driver was trampled to death by a wild elephant at Thulappally here on Monday. The deceased is Pulikunnam native Malayil Biju (50).

According to reports, the jumbo uprooted a coconut tree on the premises of Biju's plot while straying into the residential area. When the tree fell with a thud, Biju who was asleep woke up around 1 am and rushed to his courtyard. It is assumed that the violent jumbo attacked the man when he attempted to drive it back to the forest. 

Meanwhile, natives of Thulappally have started a protest along with Biju's body seeking a solution for the recurring wild animal attacks in the area. They alleged that forest officials ignored their complaints regarding wild elephant attacks in the area. Though Pampa police and forest officials rushed to the scene, the natives and relatives of Biju declared that they would not allow them to take the body for autopsy until the authority promises action. Following this, Pathanamthitta district collector Prem Krishnan reached the scene and pacified the protesters by promising compensation and a government job to Biju's son. 

“ An initial compensation will be handed over to the family soon. Directions have been given to tehsildar in this regard. A proposal will be forwarded to the government seeking compensation and government job to the deceased man's kin,” said the district collector. 

Biju's body has been taken to Kottayam Government Medical College Hospital for autopsy, he added.

According to reports, this is the second death in a wild elephant attack reported in Kerala within five days. On March 28, a tribal woman was allegedly trampled to death by a wild elephant deep inside a forest area bordering Wayanad and Malappuram districts. Her husband suffered serious injuries in the attack. The couple were attacked when they reportedly went into the forest to collect honey, said police. The incident occurred in the Parappanpara forests, and authorities came to know of it on Thursday after fellow tribals informed the police and forest officials.

With the onset of summer, Kerala has been witnessing a surge in human-wild animal conflicts as the wild animals continued to stray into the villages near the forests in search of food and water. 

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