Localities affected by 'Arikomban' witness torchlight procession after Kerala HC order

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Torchlight procession | Photo: Mathrubhumi News

Idukki: Santhanpara and Suryanelli regions here on Friday witnessed a torchlight procession by a section of residents exasperated by rouge wild tusker Arikomban. The procession was led by Janakeeya Samithi (public forum) and protestors reiterated the demand of catching Arikomban.

According to the protestors, they want the tusker to be caught immediately. The court and so-called environmentalists are unaware of the plight faced by the people, they pointed out.

The Forest Department and Idukki district administration had decided to capture Arikomban on Sunday. The arrangements were also in place for ‘Operation Arikomban’. However, Kerala High Court held a special sitting on Thursday night on the plea filed by an advocacy group, People for Animals, Thiruvananthapuram and suspended ‘Operation Arikomban’.

The court directed the government to consider alternative options to capturing the elephant and it observed that capturing the elephant was the last resort. There are ways to track elephants, the court observed. The court also inquired how elephants could be seized before doing any of this.

In Idukki, the Forest Department and Idukki district administration arranged 11 Rapid Response Teams comprising 71 officers to capture the wild elephants. Elaborate arrangements were in place to capture Arikomban, the wild elephant which has damaged properties in Munnar and nearby areas.

Arikomban, which got its name from its love for 'ari' (rice) with 'komban' meaning tusker, has damaged several houses and ration shops in the Chinnakanal and Munnar areas of Idukki in the past few years.

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