By D. Radhakrishnan
The intervention of the district administration helped restore normalcy at Iyyankolli near Gudalur where tension had prevailed since Sunday evening following the killing of a man by a wild elephant.
The tragedy happened when Balan (51) a member of the Paniya tribal community walking along a road at Thattaparai in Iyyankolli on Saturday, was attacked by a wild elephant. He died on the spot. As news spread hundreds of people gathered at the Iyyankolli junction a staged a road blockade. They refused to disperse until senior district and forest officials assured them to look into their grievances.
Security was beefed up in the area to prevent untoward incidents since Sunday night. School students joined the demonstrators on Monday.
District Collector P.Sankar accompanied by the Superintendent of Police T.Senthilkumar and DRO Bhaskar Pandiyan held talks with them. Subsequently the crowd relented and allowed to conduct the post-mortem.
Later speaking to The Hindu, Mr. Sankar said Rs 3 lakhs had been handed over to the spouse of Balan. Instructions have also been issued to make her a beneficiary of the old age pension scheme. Steps would be taken to dig trenches wherever necessary to keep elephants away.
A demand for erection of solar fences along the forests would be taken up with the government, he said.