H.D. Deve Gowda, MP and former Prime Minister, faced the ire of people who have to put up with elephant attacks regularly, during his visit to Chikkallur village in Sakleshpur taluk on Saturday.

Lakshme Gowda, a farmer of Chikkallur, died in an elephant attack in the village on Friday evening.

Villagers, who were staging a protest by keeping Lakshme Gowda’s body, blamed politicians and officials for the continuing elephant menace in the region. The protesters alleged that officers of the Department of Forests were least bothered about their problems. Repeated protests had not yielded any result, they said.

They hurled abuses at H.K. Kumaraswamy, Sakleshpur MLA, R.N. Lakshman, Deputy Conservator of Forests, and other officials present. They demanded that the government give them gun licence so that they could tackle the problem themselves.

Women staged a dharna blocking Mr. Gowda’s way when he was leaving the village and demanded that he make efforts to get the wild elephants relocated. The protesters did not relent even after Mr. Gowda was bitten by a leech. Only after the police persuaded them, the protesters made way for Mr. Gowda’s vehicle.

Mr. Gowda told presspersons before meeting Lakshme Gowda’s family that elephant menace was a serious problem. “It is difficult to solve the problem in a day or two. People want immediate solution. Killing elephants is not a solution,” he said.

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