I know people who can shoot down wild elephants, says Congress Idukki president, triggers row

Idukki: Congress district president CP Mathew landed in a controversy by stating that he has friends who can shoot wild elephants on their forehead and he will have to call them if the government is not solving the wild animal menace in the district.

He was addressing a crowd at Pooppara at the hunger strike of district Youth Congress president against the wildlife attacks.

Forest minister AK Saseendran reacted to the comment that Congress should refrain from intimidating people. "The statement implicitly says that he has connections with poachers. A responsible leader should not intimidate people. The Congress party needs to clarify its position," he said.

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Speaking at the protest site, Mathew said, "Dr Arun Sakariya (Chief Forest Veterinary Surgeon) is in Wayanad. He is expected to come here day after tomorrow. Idukki has lost more numbers of lives to wild elephant attacks than any other district." He also slammed the forest minister.

Wild elephants have been causing panic in Idukki for quite some time now. In January, a forest watcher was killed in a wild elephant attack. In the same week, a herd of elephants spent hours in an estate.

A team led by Arun had recently captured Pandalur Makhna 2 (PM2) in Wayanad and Palakkad Tusker 7 (PT7) in Palakkad's Dhoni.

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