COIMBATORE: A 54-year-old farmer was trampled to death by a wild elephant triggering largescale protests by villagers in Gudalur in The Nilgiris on Friday.
Officials said Srinathan, from Selvapuram village in ‘O’ Valley Town Panchayat, came under attack at his coffee farm in Kamaraj Nagar around noon. He didn’t notice the elephant, which emerged from the bush and attacked him. On hearing his loud cries, the estate workers rushed to the spot and found the elephant standing near his body. On receiving information, a joint team of officials from the revenue department, police and forest arrived and drove away the elephant into the forest area.
The irate villagers refused to allow the police to take the body for a post mortem. They protested by blocking the Gudalur-Barwood Road. Despite talks, the villagers refused to relent and took the body on procession to Gudalur. When police attempted to block them near a check post, the villagers managed to move ahead resulting in tension. On reaching the old bus stand, the protestors placed the body at the main junction of the NH linking Kerala, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu causing traffic disruption.
As the protests intensified, D Venkatesh, Field Director of Mudumalai Tiger Reserve held talks with the people. However, the villagers demanded the Forest Department to dig trenches and capture the wild elephant. The Nilgiris SP Ashish Rawat also spoke to the family of the deceased. The villagers sought the arrival of the Collector and an assurance from him to fulfill their demands.