NGO seeks enquiry into IFoS officer Manikandan’s death

S. Manikandan

S. Manikandan

NGO Wildlife First has sought enquiry into the circumstances that led to the death of Nagarahole Park director S. Manikandan.

The IFoS officer was trampled to death by a wild tusker while assessing damage caused to the forest by a fire on March 3. K.M. Chinnappa and Praveen Bhargav, trustees of Wildlife First, while condoling the demise of the officer, sought an independent and comprehensive enquiry and said such incidents “are not only rare but often eminently avoidable”.

'Happened in broad daylight'

A memorandum submitted to the government said this was borne out by the fact that hundreds of forest personnel regularly patrol jungles on duty and such fatalities rarely occur. “It is also pertinent to point out that the tragic event happened in broad daylight,” they said, seeking setting up of an independent committee comprising of members experienced in elephant behaviour and good field knowledge.

The NGO raised issues to be probed as to whether the standard protocol adopted by experienced forest officers and staff were observed such as assigning skilled trackers to intensively watch for animal movement in the area where the inspection was being carried out. Wildlife First wished to know if all officers and personnel wore khaki or camouflage uniforms necessary to minimise chances of detection and whether armed staff were assigned to provide protection in case of an elephant attack or even an ambush by hunters and smugglers.

It also expressed concerns of speculations in certain quarters that the elephant was to be identified and eliminated or captured. “If this is true, we strongly oppose any such move which would be in violation of law and guidelines,” the memorandum said. It said a standard operating procedure based on findings of the expert committee would be useful to prevent such tragic incidents.

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Printable version | Aug 9, 2022 7:35:56 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/karnataka/ngo-seeks-enquiry-into-ifos-officer-manikandans-death/article23337913.ece