Standoff between farmers, Forest department worsens

The standoff between the Forest department and a section of settler farmers at Thamarassery over the alleged failure of the authorities in controlling wild animal menace worsened with the latest row over sanctioning of compensation for Rasheed Alakkunnathu, a 45-year-old driver-turned-farmer, who was killed in an accident reportedly caused by wild boars.

Farmers organisations alleged that the department was responsible for the denial of treatment aid to the man while he was undergoing treatment at the Kozhikode Medical College Hospital.

It was on October 6 that Rasheed along with his family members had met with the accident. Though the others escaped with minor injuries, Rasheed, who drove the autorickshaw, sustained grave injuries. He had been under treatment for nearly two months.

The farmers who staged a protest in front of the Thamarassery Forest Range Office on Saturday carrying the body of the victim said Forest officials were disinclined to submit a report in favour of the man to enable him to get a reasonable compensation. “Instead, the report was filed to the higher authorities saying that the accident was not caused by any wild animal. It subsequently led to the denial of treatment aid to Rasheed,” they said.

A joint action council of farmers from Thamarassery sought the suspension of officials who were allegedly behind the denial of treatment aid to the man. According to them, it was like a “culpable homicide”, and that the officials accountable for the lapse should be punished. They also warned of launching an indefinite stir in case of laxity on the part of the authorities in initiating disciplinary action.

We Farm, a settler farmers organisation, also threatened to launch an indefinite stir in front of the Thamarassery Forest Range Officer’s house from December 11.

Meanwhile, Forest officials said they would adopt a considerate approach to ensure compensation for the victim’s family. “Apart from holding discussions with the protesting organisations, we will make efforts for the speedy processing of the compensation claim,” they clarified.

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Printable version | Jan 26, 2022 9:51:24 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/kozhikode/standoff-between-farmers-forest-department-worsens/article37855671.ece

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