Tribal kills forester who stopped him from cutting shrubs (Udhagamandalam, India)


Shanghai Thiagarajan, Times of India

Date Published

 A forest watcher on duty, who had prevented a tribal man from cutting shrubs and fodder inside the forest area near Masinagudi in the Nilgiris, was murdered by the tribal, late Sunday evening.

R Krishnan, 28, belonging to the Irula tribe and residing in Mavanallah, was found cutting bushes inside the reserve forest area near Sogappati in the North division of the Nilgiris, on Sunday afternoon. He was warned against it by forest watcher, P Kannan, 56, who was on duty, according to forest officials.

However, Krishnan returned to the forest area the same evening and resumed cutting shrubs. When Kannan asked him to leave the forest area, Krishnan attacked him. “Kannan was severely attacked and he was unable to retaliate,” said C Badrasamy, district forest officer. Krishnan dragged the injured Kannan to a river nearby and drowned him there.

A case was lodged with the police by K Madhavi , 48, wife of Kannan at around 9pm.

Masinagudi police arrested the accused and booked him under sections 353 and 302 of IPC. “Krishnan is under police custody for further investigation. Once the preliminary investigation is over, he will be remanded to judicial custody,” said the police.

There is some heresay that Krishnan was instructed by the owner of a private resort near Masinagudi to collect fodder from the forest to feed a lone elephant named Revoldo, said Badrasamy. The elephant had injured his trunk some years ago in an incident and had been taken care of the renowned conservationist Mark Davidar who resided in Mavanallah village. Davidar, who had died in 2013, was very fond of Revoldo. The jumbo was fed by the locals and thus roamed about in Mavanallah area.

“A thorough investigation is underway to ascertain if local resort owners are involved in obtaining fodder from the forest area. Stern action would be taken against those found guilty,” said Badrasamy.

In the meantime, the DFO has strictly instructed the forest staff to see that the lone elephant does not enter Masinagudi area. “If anyone is found feeding the elephant, he would be booked under Wildlife Act,” said the official.

“Some resort owners lure the wounded elephant with fodder to entertain tourists in their resorts. This is highly condemnable,” said a wildlife activist on condition of anonymity.