SULTHAN BATHERY: The tiger menace issue continued unabated in the villages on the Kerala-Tamil Nadu border, near here, on Sunday after a group of local people and relatives of the woman who was killed by the predator the other day, resorted to violence demanding immediate measures to check the wild animal menace.
The irate mob torched three vehicles belonging to the Tamil Nadu Forest Department and attacked the forest range office in Bitherkad, a township along the Kozhikode-Ooty interstate highway, in Panthaloor taluk in the Nilgris district. The group also pelted stones at three more vehicles and gheraoed the officials, demanding release of compensation to the kin of the victim.
The incident occurred when District Collector P Sankar, along with Forest and Revenue officials, arrived at Bitherkad around 10 am to pacify the agitating crowd.
Tense moments prevailed at the area when the relatives of the deceased, Mahalakshmi, 40, who was mauled to death by the predator on Saturday, refused to hand over her body for a postmortem examination, demanding a solatium of `10 lakh and immediate orders to shoot the man-eater.
The protesters, carrying the body, had been resorting to road blockade at Bitherkad since Saturday night.
On Sunday morning, Gudalur MLA M Thiravidamani conducted talks with the relatives of the deceased, local people and representatives of political parties and agreed to consider the demands put forth by them.
Following the talks, the Tamil Nadu government ordered a solatium of `3 lakh to the family of Mahalakshmi, 40, who was mauled to death by the predator on Saturday.
The MLA assured the agitating crowd that the amount would be increased after clearing the ‘administrative hurdles’.
A decision has also taken to provide government job to the victim’s son. A house would also be allotted to the family.
However, even after receiving the assurance from the MLA, a section of agitators were not willing to hand over the body as they wanted the animal that also preyed on a farmer in Noolpuzha a few days ago dead.
The police used force to disperse the crowd and a postmortem examination was conducted at the taluk hospital in Gudalur and the body was handed over to the relatives of the victim.
To avoid any untoward incident, a large posse of police has been posted in the area.