Crowd hinders jumbo drive-away operation

Crowd hinders jumbo drive-away operation

Throwing caution to the wind, hundreds of curious people on Monday gathered to see a herd of elephants which had strayed into Huskur village, hindering the operation by forest department officials to drive away the pachyderms.

The herd of 16 elephants, including two calves, had passed through Dommasandra before entering Huskur. The forest department in the evening managed to drive the animals past Kaggalipura towards Chandapura.

“We have identified two routes. One is to take them through the Hosur area where there is a forest or through Bannerghatta. But it cannot be done according to our wishes. Our team is following the herd,” said a senior forest department official.
Late at night, the herd settled at Neraluru near Tirumagondanahalli off the Bangalore-Hosur highway, officials said.

Until late in the evening, forest officials relied on Vanaraja, the elephant from Bannerghatta, to help them stay with the herd, while Arjuna from Mysore reached the spot by 8 pm. Abhimanyu arrived later. “We could have managed even without the elephants but they were brought in for additional surety,” the official said.

Despite one person identified as Sham being seriously injured near Dommasandra, hundreds of people flocked the areas that should have ideally been sanitised, thus preventing the authorities from driving the elephants towards Hosur or Bannerghatta until about 6:30 pm.

Fear of the herd entering the Electronic City area also loomed large for a few hours.
Around 4:30 pm, the forest department personnel, using firecrackers, got the herd moving towards Kaggalipura. The herd had managed to cross a road and proceed towards another, according to the plan.

However, the presence of hundreds of people, whose vehicles jammed the road despite the authorities’ best efforts to avert such a situation, made the elephants take a detour.

Principal Chief Conservator of Forest (PCCF) Deepak Sharma told Deccan Herald: “They took a left turn which they were not supposed to do. At that point we feared that they might enter the Electronic City.

But they went back to the same spot in Huskur and we were forced to start from the scratch.” Around 300 police personnel from the Karnataka State Reserve Police (KSRP), the District Reserve (DR), Bangalore and other divisions, were deployed.

A person named Muniraju, villagers said, sustained minor injuries after he tried getting close to the elephants. “He had consumed alcohol and tried going close to the herd. When one of the elephants reacted he tried running and sustained injuries as he fell,” said Sreenivasappa, one of the villagers. The elephants did not attack him, Sreenivasappa added.

Another person named Manjunath also sustained minor injuries. He was with Sham, but managed to escape.

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