Unruly crowds created chaos leading to 13 wild elephants remaining stuck near Huskur lake bed in Anekal taluk, unable to return to the forests, for most part of the day on Monday.
Late in the night, Forest and Police personnel managed to chase the herd towards Chandapur forests and were continuing operations to drive the elephants towards Hosur forests in Tamil Nadu.
Huskur village was flooded with people who gathered to watch and prod the wild elephants on Monday. Forest and police officials involved in the flushing-out operation had a tough time as, despite repeated appeals, people did not cooperate.
In all the melee two people, identified as Shyam and Muniraju, escaped narrowly. Shyam was admitted to St John’s Hospital while Muniraju was treated at a local hospital for bruises.
Nandini, the wife of the injured Shyam, residents of Dommasandra, said he had sustained a rib fracture. Shyam had dropped her off at work in the morning and she later came to know that he was injured in the elephant attack, she told Express.
“Had people not interfered in our work, we could have chased the elephants back to forest without much struggle,” stated Bangalore Rural Deputy Conservator of Forests K B Manjunath.
The elephant herd, which has been wandering around in Malur and Hoskote, has been troubled by mobs of people, leading to the trampling of four in the last couple of days. On Monday, it killed a seven-day-old calf of a cow.
“When the train passed through here, the elephants got scared and ventured into the rose and marigold garden and killed the calf,” said Y Babu, who owned the calf.
Despite all this, the crowd kept swelling at Huskur, till the police resorted lathicharge.
“The elephants had started moving towards Chandapura, but the crowd chased it back to the same place,” Manjunath rued.
Range Forest Officer B Veeranna said 250 forest officials and 200 police officials were involved in the massive operation.
Eight teams of 10 members each have been formed to chase the herd.
“The staff are all well equipped. But the problem is with the people, who keep troubling the elephants by going near,” he said.
Principal Chief Conservator of Forests Dipak Sarmah told Express: “We have studied the area with the help of a taluk map. A tame elephant, Vanaraja, from Bannerghatta, along with forest staff, was deputed to chase the herd. Two more tame elephants from Mysore are on their way to help guide the herd into the forests.”
Anekal MLA B Shivanna arrived along with officials and asked his supporters and gram panchayat members to announce in all the villages that people remain indoors and cooperate with the officials. He also said he will take this matter with Forest Minister Ramanath Rai to fence the area and demand special package.
Manasa, a fifth standard student Manasa from the government school in Huskur said, “Sighting the elephants was delightful. The news reached our school and all the children were excited to see the elephants.”