A wild elephant on Saturday night trampled a 48-year-old farmer to death at Chittepalayam village near Sirumugai here.
Following the farmer’s death, a group of villagers protested against the forest department officials for failing to control the movement of wild elephants in agricultural fields and demanded deputation of more forest guards in the area to prevent man-animal conflicts.
The deceased was identified as M Ganeshamoorthy, of Chittepalayam village. He owned a farm land, where he cultivated chillies and green fodder for cattle. He had constructed a room at the farm to stay overnight and check the entry of wild animals.
On Friday night, Ganeshamoorthy and his father Mathegowder had gone to the farm. Mathegowder was inside the room while Ganeshamoorthy slept outside the room.
Around 9.30pm, Ganeshamoorthy heard an elephant trumpeting and rushed to the field. The elephant charged towards him and he could not escape. Ganeshamoorthy was trampled by the wild elephant and died on the spot.
Other farmers staying in nearby farmhouses alerted villagers, who rushed to the spot along with forest department officials. They burst crackers to chase away the elephant, which returned to the reserve forest after an hour.
Later, villagers and farmers refused forest department officials from retrieving Ganeshamoorthy’s body from the spot. They demanded deployment of more forest guards, besides increasing elephant-proof trenches in the area, to curb man-animal conflicts.
The Sirumugai police, meanwhile, reached the spot and pacified the villagers and farmers. Later, the body was sent to the government hospital in Mettupalayam, where postmortem was conducted on Sunday morning.
The forest department has handed over 50,000 to the Ganeshamoorthy’s family, as the first phase of the compensation and the remaining 2.5 lakh will be given later.