Kerala Kaumudi Online
Friday, 12 April 2024 4.00 PM IST

Death of auto driver in elephant attack sparks protests in Munnar; Forest Department promises support


MUNNAR: Munnar erupted in protests after autorickshaw driver Suresh Kumar (Mani- 45) was killed in a wild elephant attack at Kannimala. LDF and UDF, with hartal, and BJP joining the locals in protest, brought Munnar to a standstill. Forest department officials came in person and handed over a check of Rs 10 lakh to Suresh's family.

Suresh Kumar was killed in a wild elephant attack at Kannimala on Monday night. An auto driver, Suresh Kumar, was hit by the elephant; the auto-rickshaw overturned and he was thrown by the trunk. He sustained a serious head injury and died by the time he reached the hospital. Apart from Suresh, there were five people in the auto. Among them, Esaki Raja (45), Regina (39) and their daughter Kutti Priya (11) are undergoing treatment at Munnar High Range Hospital. Two migrant workers were also present. The workers ran away.

The scenes in front of the mortuary of Munnar High Range Hospital, where Suresh's body was kept were heartbreaking. Suresh's mother, wife, children and relatives turned the hospital premises into a venue for mourning. The relatives have taken a stand that they will not allow the post-mortem of the body without finding a permanent solution to the continuous wild elephant attacks. Suresh Kumar's mother Gomathi, gave an emotional response to the media.

LDF activists protested on the Munnar-Udumalapetta inter-state highway. Congress workers also blocked vehicles at Munnar RO Junction. Then the Forest Department considered the demands put forward in an all-party meeting led by the District Collector, which solved the problem. The Forest Department will recommend employment to the family members of the deceased Suresh Kumar. They will also bear the education expenses of the children and the medical expenses of the injured.

In the meeting, the forest department also informed that CCF will be recommended to shift the aggressive elephants to another place. After the LDF hartal ended, the body was shifted to Adimali Taluk Hospital for post-mortem. The cremation took place at the estate public crematorium around 4 pm. At the same time, Dean Kuriakos MP Munnar started a hunger strike in front of the Gandhi statue demanding the capture of the elephant. Indira, the wife of the deceased Suresh Kumar, is a gardener. Their children are Vignesh (7th standard student) and Yogeswaran (6th standard student).

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