ANI Photo | “Pinarayi govt has gone mad:” Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan on man-animal conflict

Congress MLA Mathew Kuzhalnadan accused Kerala Chief Minister Pinyari Vijayan of ‘going mad’ over tackling the rising human-animal conflict that has been increasing in Kerala, resulting in deaths and injuries to farmers close to the forest.
The Kerala Police detained Kuzhalnadan and Ernakulam District Congress Committee president Mohammed Shiya on Monday while protesting over the death of a woman in an elephant attack in Idukki district, but they were later granted interim bail.
“The Pinarayi government has gone mad. I don’t know for what reason they are doing this all. This incident has fueled our determination to continue the protest against the Pinarayi government’s questionable actions. We are committed to advancing the cause and agitating until a satisfactory solution is achieved,” Mathew Kuzhalnadan said.
Expressing concern over the rise in incidents of human-wildlife conflict in Kerala, he said, “In the morning, we received sad news that a lady had lost her life in a wild elephant attack. Her body was in the mortuary at the government hospital. As elected representatives, we rushed to the hospital and found a large crowd expressing anguish and anger. This was not an isolated incident; three similar events occurred in the past in this area, and 12 more incidents happened in other parts of the state.”
Kuzhalnadan said that the protest was aimed at addressing the recurring issue of animal-human conflicts in the state that results in the loss of both humans and wildlife, loss of crops, damage and destruction of habitat etc.
Further Mathew Kuzhalnadan asserted that, “It became a grave concern for people living near the forest. They wanted to register a protest due to the repeated occurrences. During our discussion with those assembled at the hospital, everyone agreed that a strong protest was necessary. Consequently, we organized a protest in the town, and the deceased’s body was taken after consultation with the family members” Mathew Kuzhalnadan said.
Kuzhalnadan emphasized that the protest was a call to stop the animal-human conflict emphasizing the deceased family’s concern that such an incident had affected their family, and they wanted to prevent others from experiencing the same fate.
‘The deceased lady’s husband and her son both agreed to participate in the protest because many people are suffering from similar incidents. They expressed their concern, sharing that such an incident had affected their family, and they wanted to prevent others from experiencing the same fate. During the protest, I spoke to the minister and concerned officials, who assured us they would propose positive measures. Due to the minister’s inability to attend, a senior CCF and the collector were sent to discuss with us. I invited them to the protest site, but the collector suggested discussing matters at the PWD rest house,” Mathew Kuzhalnadan said.
He accused Kerala Police of taking action against the protestors on “external influences” without any provocation, including the forceful detention of the DCC president.
“Despite the collector’s willingness, external influences prevented the talks from resolving. The police used force to take the deceased’s body, leading us to announce an ‘upvas’ satyagraha protest. In the late evening, arrests were made without provocation, including the forceful detention of the DCC president. We cooperated with the police but were released on interim bail after appearing in court. The court was kind to us,” Mathew Kuzhalnadan said.
Earlier on February 22 Union Minister for Environment, Forest and Climate Change Bhupender Yadav held a high-level meeting with the state and central officials at the District Collector’s office in Wayanad district of Kerala.
Following the meeting, the minister addressed the media and outlined comprehensive measures to tackle the pressing issue of human-wildlife conflict in the region.
During the press conference, Minister Yadav emphasized the significance of ensuring both animal and human safety in Wayanad. He suggested the initiation of a community radio or coordination program to raise awareness, aligning with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Responding to demands for elephant fencing and capturing wild animals, Minister Yadav clarified that the Chief Wildlife Warden, under the Wildlife Act of 1972, possesses ample authority to trap, catch, or, if necessary, eliminate problematic animals. He highlighted the central government’s commitment by increasing compensation from 5 to 10 lakhs.
“Compensation of Rs 10 Lakhs will be provided for those killed in wild animal attacks,” Minister Yadav said while talking to the media

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