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Karnataka: Tusker kills man, FIR filed against officials

If a wild elephant kills a human being in any area - forest or otherwise - who is to be blamed? Forest officials or citizens? 

Published: 01st February 2018 02:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 01st February 2018 04:46 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

BENGALURU: If a wild elephant kills a human being in any area - forest or otherwise - who is to be blamed? Forest officials or citizens? Forest officials say they are just custodians and are doing their sovereign duty.Supporting them, wildlife conservationists and activists say one cannot hold them responsible for the accidental death of people in human-wildlife conflicts.

However, bereaved family members of a victim have filed a case against forest officials.On January 22, a wild elephant attacked and killed Mohan Das, a 70-year-old planter in Karadigodu village of Virajpet taluk. With the Additional Civil Judge (JMFC) of Virajpet permitting a case to be filed, the complainant has lodged an FIR stating that the elephant belonged to three forest officials and had killed Das in his estate.

The FIR names three officials - S S Lingaraja, CCF Kodagu Circle; Maria Christa Raja, DCF, Virajpet; and Gangadhar, RFO, Virajpet; and says legal action should be taken against them for negligence and `2 crore should be paid as compensation to the victim’s family.

According to Manoj Kumar, Secretary, IFS Association, Karnataka, the complainant has provided false evidence to the court and got a case registered, which not only attracts Section 182/195 of the IPC but also demotivates the officers and the staff.

Prakriti Srivastava, Wildlife Conservation Society, India, country Director, said, “We are aware of the difficulties forest officers face in such conflict situations. In many cases, they put their lives at risk. We are dismayed to note an FIR has been filed against the jurisdictional forest officers, holding them responsible for the unfortunate demise of the victim.”



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