Elephant attack kills one; HDD forced to visit spot

Former prime minister H D Deve Gowda was forced to visit Chikkallur, under Igur Grama Panchayat, Hethuru hobli, in the taluk on Saturday as villagers resorted to a massive protest demonstration — along with the body of a victim of elephant attack — demanding that he visit the village to lend a ear to their grievances.

Lakshman Gowda, a farmer, was killed around 7 pm on Friday. The elephant stood on the same spot till 10 pm — not allowing the villagers to go near the victim.

As the forest department personnel learnt that the villagers were enraged, they arrived at 11 pm along with police personnel. The villagers vented their anger by damaging the department jeep. The elephant was chased away into the forest later. The villagers staged a dharna from Friday night itself, demanding that Deve Gowda visit them and provide a permanent solution to the elephant menace — as he has remained indifferent to the hardships faced by the people in the region, despite five persons losing their lives in elephant attacks over the past two years.

They alleged that Gowda, who represents them in the Parliament, has not even visited them when they were grieving the death of their fellow farmers in the past.

Farmers from over 30 villages, bordering forests in the region, gathered and shouted slogans against Gowda, MLA H K Kumaraswamy and the government.

Gowda gheraoed

When Gowda arrived on the spot, at 12 noon, the protestors gheraoed him and did not allow him to pay his last respects to the victim.

“If one person dies in Bangalore, due to elephant attack, it becomes national news. But, if a farmer or a student dies in the forest region, nobody cares. We are under constant threat of elephant attacks for the past one decade,” they said.

Deve Gowda was once again gheraoed by women, when he was returning after interacting with the villagers. They demanded a permanent solution to elephant menace.
“We have no guarantee till our husband or children return from farm and school respectively. After 6 in the evening, we cannot even go to our backyard.  There are no proper roads to our villages. There is no power. You forget us once you secure our votes.

Shift the elephants or else provide us rehabilitation in a safer place,” they said. Gowda said, shifting of elephants was impossible due to legal hurdles. He said, “I have raised the issue in the Parliament also, earlier.

I will bring the problem to the notice of the government and seek a solution. I will pressurise the State Government to take steps to shift the rogue elephant temporarily”.
The protestors also attacked MLA K K Kumaraswamy, alleging that he had not taken steps to provide roads and power supply.

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