Representatives of citizen groups from Mysore, Hunsur and Kodagu have petitioned the Karnataka State Human Rights Commission to identify the failures that led to two wild elephants straying into Mysore on Wednesday, resulting in the death of one person and injury to four others, besides loss of property.
M. Lakshman, convener of the Association of Concerned and Informed Citizens of Mysore (ACICM); M.B. Prabhu, Director of the Indian Institute of Tribal Education, Nagarahole, a tribal welfare organisation; and A.M. Suraj, a wildlife conservationist from Gonicoppa in Kodagu, have filed an affidavit in this regard.
The commission should consider the death, injuries and losses as violations of human rights and recommend action against those who were culpable for the incident, Mr. Lakshman told presspersons here on Friday. Petitions had also been sent to the National Human Rights Commission and the Karnataka Director-General and Inspector-General of Police, he said.
The Deputy Commissioner of Mysore should explain to people what had happened to the Disaster Management Cell constituted by his predecessor to react to disasters within 15 minutes of their occurrence, he said.
He accused the Forest Department of failing to act swiftly. Tranquilisers were brought from Bangalore, causing a delay in catching the adolescent bull elephant that went on a rampage in the city, he said.
Mr. Lakshman alleged that the Forest Department had allowed 363 resorts to come up in the Western Ghats region in the last 10 years, and said that a probe into it was needed.
Mr. Prabhu stated that the Forest Department had so far received Rs. 900 crore from the Centre for conservation of elephants, but it had failed to contain man-elephant conflict in the vulnerable districts of Mysore, Chamarajanagar, Kodagu, Hassan and Chikmagalur.
He accused the forest officials in the D.B. Kuppe, Kakanakote, Nagarahole, and Antarasante areas of the Nagarahole National Park of supporting sand mining and stone quarrying.
Dynamite being used to blast stones at the Ranganathittu Bird Sanctuary had disturbed the birds and ecology, he alleged.
The Minister for Forests and higher officials of the department had maintained a stoic silence over the issue, Mr. Prabhu said, releasing pictures of the Ranganathittu quarrying area.
Mr. Prabhu, while regretting the death of Renukaswamy in the elephant attack on Mysore on June 8, questioned the Government's providing of Rs. 5 lakh as compensation to the kin of the victim, saying the kin of tribal people killed or injured in elephant attacks in Kodagu had only received an advance, and were still to get compensation.