IDUKKI: Demanding stringent action against the Kanan Devan Tea Plantations authorities in Munnar for pounding ‘Chillikomban’, a wild tusker to death using an excavator, animal activists have approached the Ministry of Environment and Forest (MoEF).
The shocking use of a heavy machine to hound away a wild tusker that sauntered into human habitat has triggered a controversy with animal lovers alleging the Forest Department officers are trying to protect the estate authorities. The tusker had gone on the rampage in the area destroying vehicles and a church building.
Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF), a Thrissur-based NGO has MoEF demanding action against all the persons involved in the incident.
In a letter sent to Inspector General (IG), Project Elephant at MoEF, the functionaries of HATF demanded the chief and manager of Kanan Devan Tea Plantations should be booked for the brutal act. “The Forest Department should arrest the chief of Kanan Devan Plantations for the illegal use of earth moving machine on their premises, which ultimately resulted in the death of the wild elephant,” said HATF secretary V K Venkitachalam in the letter.
Meanwhile, Forest Department registered cases against Dhaneesh, of Adimali, the owner of the excavator and Sajeev of Kundala, the work supervisor at the estate. Both are absconding.
The officers had arrested Binoop, the driver of the earth moving machine on Tuesday. He was produced before the Devikulam court and remanded on Wednesday. He was booked under various sections of Wildlife Protection Act, 1952.Vekitachalam alleged there were serious lapses in the post-mortem proceedings and the Forest officers were trying to save the estate authorities.
“It is a clear case of hunting as the excavator should not have been used to drive away a wild elephant. Moreover, the incident could not have happened on the premises of the estate without the permission of teh estate manager,” he said.
Venkitachalam said the post-mortem examination of a protected animal should be done in the presence of a senior officer like Wildlife Warden or Chief Conservator of Forest.