Strike in Idukki over ‘Arikomban’ issue turns intense, roads blocked


Portraying an interesting tale of human-animal conflict, ten panchayats of Idukki district observed a 12-hour strike from 6 am to 6 pm against the Kerala High Court order for the capture of tusker ‘Arikomban’ which had ravaged several human settlements.

The strike was observed at Marayur, Munnar, Devikulam, Kanthalloor, Vattavada, Edamalakkudy, Bisonvalley, Udumbanchola, Santhanpara, and Chinnakkanal panchayats.
Earlier, the Kerala High Court had formed a five-member expert panel to advise the court on options other than capturing the tusker ‘Arikomban’ that had reportedly killed seven persons and ravaged several human settlements.
The court had also ordered the Kerala Forest Department to attach a radio collar to track the tusker’s movements.
Arikomban, a wild tusker, used to stray into human settlements and attack people while on a search for rice.
Following the protests from locals, the district administration had taken unprecedented precautions for the capture of this elephant, as the area of operation is located inside human settlements. Later, a petition was moved in Kerala High Court on March 23 against capturing Arikomban. The court stayed the mission till March 29 & constituted an expert committee to advise the court on this issue.
The people belonging to 2 tribal colonies residing majorly in these panchayats are the main victims of the tusker’s attacks. On Wednesday night also, the locals had staged a protest by blocking roads.