Wild elephant attack: farmers lay siege to forest office (Kozhikode, India)


The Hindu

Date Published

Seeking justice for a farmer whose land was razed by wild elephants on
Sunday night, a group of settler farmers from Chakkittappara panchayat
laid a siege to the Poozhithode section office of the Forest
Department on Monday. The protesters prevented five forest officials
from leaving the office till evening, seeking immediate action against
wild animal menace.

The farmers let the officials leave only after the arrival of
Divisional Forest Officer K.K. Sunil Kumar who held talks with the
leaders of various farmer bodies. The official also visited the land
owned by Boban Vettikkal, the farmer who suffered huge loss in the
wild elephant attack.

The department promised to post five guards in the Poozhithodu region.
The suggestion to secure dismantled railway tracks to construct
powerful fences across the vulnerable forest line too was approved in
principle, and it will be forwarded to the consideration of the higher

Boss Vattamattom, leader of a rural farmers’ collective, wanted the
district administration to renew their gun licences, so that they can
scare off animals with guns.

Though the Forest Department promised a compensation of ?700 per
coconut tree destroyed in the attack, the farmer declined to accept
the offer. He said the amount would not suffice to buy a high-yielding
coconut sapling. “At least ?15,000 should be granted to compensate the
actual loss,” he said.

The farmers group, We Farm, had planned an indefinite agitation by
staying overnight at forest offices from Monday. This was later
suspended following the DFO’s assurance.