A riot-like situation prevailed on the busy Hosur-Krishnagiri National Highway 7 on Saturday as angry villagers blocked traffic after a 32-year-old man was killed by an elephant. The police had to resort to a mild lathi-charge to disperse the crowd.
Though the villagers had been seeking official intervention to sort out the elephant menace in the region for the past few days, the matters took a violent turn when one Venkatesh, who was watching the herd movement along the National Highway, was chased and killed by one pachyderm just on the outskirts of the industrial town.
A herd of 40 elephants had strayed into the region from the neighbouring Karnataka and had been wreaking havoc for the past fortnight. The efforts taken by forest officials to chase the herd, camping in Sanamavu forest area, had yielded no major
result. Meanwhile, three from the original herd got separated and had been moving in the Soolagiri region for the past three days.
Around 11 am on Saturday, the elephants had ventured into a lake at Attakurukki village along the national highway, where curious commuters and local residents assembled to witness the scene. On information, the forest department officials rushed to the spot. The animals panicked after the officials burst crackers and began running helter-skelter. In the milieu, the trio got separated and a lone elephant started moving towards the spectators lining the road. Even as curiosity gave way to panic, the elephant started chasing Venkatesh, a resident of Bannapalli. Venkatesh jumped into the lake, but the pachyderm followed him. In a desperate attempt, Venkatesh swam to the other side, but got stuck in slush.
Even as the public tried to rush to his aid, the elephant reached the spot, dragged him ashore and attacked him with its tusks. Meanwhile, the villagers informed the 108 ambulance service to shift Venkatesh to a hospital. However, the ambulance arrived late, by which time Venkatesh died.
Enraged with the delayed arrival of the ambulance, the villagers blocked the national highway.