A herd of 13 wild elephants trampled to death an old man and his three-year-old grandson near Krishnagiri on Sunday.
The incident happened at a mango orchard in Kuruparapalli near here. According to Forest Department officials, G. Kenjappan (80) lost his life while trying to save his grandson N. Narasimhan alias Dharshan. The herd killed Kenjappan first and then Dharshan, who was sleeping in a makeshift hut.
Sources said Kenjappan was a watchman in the orchard for the past two months. Two women and a baby, who were also inside the hut, escaped unhurt. Kenjappan's son Krishnamoorthy, who first sighted the herd while he was inspecting the orchard and alerted others, also escaped.
After the incident, the herd crossed the Bangalore-Chennai National Highway and entered the Melumalai Reserve Forests to join a pair of elephants. On receiving information about the incident, F.R. Ikram Mohammed Shah, Conservator of Forests, Dharmapuri Circle, and other officials rushed to the Government Headquarters Hospital in Krishnagiri and handed over Rs.25,000 as immediate compensation to the next of kin of Kenjappan.
The department would hand over the remaining compensation after receiving the death and legal heir certificates from the families of the victims.
Mr. Shah, Assistant Conservator of Forests A.K. Ulaganathan and District Forest Officer C.H. Padma, Rangers R. Madheshwaran (Hosur), Raphel Reddy (Royakottai) and over 50 Forest Department employees are camping in the Melumalai area.
Efforts are being made to drive the elephants into the reserve forests in Karnataka via Denkanikottai and Udedurgam and Jawalagiri Reserve Forests.