Wild animal attacks: Hartal turns violent in Pulpally, locals tie cow atop Forest dept jeep

PTI | Wayanad | Updated: 17-02-2024 18:56 IST | Created: 17-02-2024 18:56 IST
Wild animal attacks: Hartal turns violent in Pulpally, locals tie cow atop Forest dept jeep
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The district-wide hartal called by the ruling LDF, opposition UDF and BJP on Saturday to seek permanent solutions to the human-animal conflicts in the region was total but turned violent at Pulpally with protesters damaging a Forest department vehicle and tying a cow that was killed in a suspected tiger attack atop it earlier in the day.

The hartal was announced by all the three major political fronts protesting against the increasing number of wild animal attacks with the latest being on Friday when Paul, an eco-tourism guide of the Forest department was killed by a wild tusker near Kuruva island.

As the agitators turned violent, throwing bottles and plastic chairs at the officials, police resorted to a lathi-charge injuring many.

The angry mob raised slogans and booed Congress MLAs T Siddique and I C Balakrishnan who tried to pacify the protesters.

Protesters gathered in large numbers with the body of Paul at Pulpally town, seeking compensation and a permanent solution for the issue.

They raised slogans seeking the resignation of Forest Minister A K Saseendran and against the Forest department.

As the situation turned worse, Wayanad MP, Rahul Gandhi, who is at Varanasi as part of his Baharat Jodo Nyay Yatra, will reach his constituency in the night, senior Congress leader Jairam Ramesh said on X. ''Rahul Gandhi's presence is required urgently in Wayanad. He is leaving this evening from Varanasi at 5 PM. The Bharat Jodo Nyay Yatra will resume at 3 PM tomorrow, February 18th, at Prayagraj,'' Ramesh posted.

Meanwhile, the ADM met the family of Paul and informed that a compensation of Rs ten lakh will be handed over to the family of Paul. The district administration also assured a job for the wife of Paul and to take care of the educational needs of his daughter.

Considering the volatile situation, the district administration has announced prohibitory orders in regions around Pulpally.

Earlier, during the protest, the agitators placed a wreath on the Forest department's vehicle alleging that the officials were unable to protect the life and property of the people.

Later, a section of protesters brought the carcass of a cow killed in a tiger attack earlier in the day, on a tractor and tied it atop the bonnet of the Forest Department vehicle.

Meanwhile, the relatives of Paul alleged that the protest at Pulpally using his body was politically motivated as his family was made to wait for the body for hours.

Saseendran, who spoke to the media in Kozhikode, said he understands and stands by the emotion of the protesters considering their concerns over wild animal attacks.

''However, when it turns violent, it defeats the purpose. It diverts attention from the real issue of wild animal attacks on people,'' Saseendran said.

He said it was not a political issue and urged everyone not to divert from the real problem.

Meanwhile, Siddique who spoke to the media said the violence at Pulpally was unfortunate.

''We will not fall for the trap. Some people are trying to divert attention through this violence. We (Congress) want the Forest minister to resign. We want the Chief Minister to visit the region and address the concerns of the people,'' Siddique said.

The last rites of Paul were held at the local church.

Meanwhile, the Leader of Opposition V D Satheesan on Saturday spoke to Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan over phone and sought his urgent intervention.

Satheesan, who met the media at Palakkad said the Forest Minister was sitting idle when the human-animal conflict issue was raised in the Assembly.

''The government should have a definite plan to deal with such instances. The government is yet to hand over the earlier announced compensations,'' Satheesan said. The shops and business establishments remained closed while vehicles kept off the roads today across Wayanad districts in view of the hartal call.

Last week, Aji (42) was trampled to death by the elephant in the Mananthavady area of the district triggering massive protests in Wayanad.

Attacks on livestock and humans are frequently being reported from Wayanad recently.

(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)

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