A student and two women labourers were injured after an elephant attacked them in two separate incidents in Kodagu district on Wednesday.
Chandan, 13, a class seven student of the Government Primary School in Bittangala was on his way to school along with three other friends when at around 8:30 am, a wild elephant attacked the group.
His friends escaped injury but Chandan was severely hurt in the head, abdomen and legs in the incident and was immediately taken to the Government Hospital in Virajpet for treatment. The students are residents of a labour colony inside a coffee plantation in Bittangala. According to them, the elephant attacked Chandan and flung him in the air.
In another incident later in the day, two women labourers Kamal (51) and Ammal (65) were attacked by another elephant at Chamundi Paisari plantation in Virajpet taluk. The women were taken to Virajpet taluk hospital and are currently out of danger. According to them, the elephant pushed them when they came across it while having lunch in the plantation in the afternoon.
Forest officials in Virajpet inspected the site of both attacks. They attempted to play down the attacks by claiming that Chandan, Kamal and Ammal sustained injuries trying to run away from the elephant. "The elephant did not have a direct role in the attack. In both incidents, the injured persons were hurt while trying to run away from the elephant. There are a lot of private lands with unchecked forest growth and the elephants appear in these areas. We are doing our best to restrict conflict between humans and elephants," stated Gopal, a forest official in Virajpet.
Recently, the forest department had attached GPS-fitted radio collars on one elephant each from six different herds in Kodagu. The move is the department's latest efforts to reduce the elephant-human conflict in Kodagu. "However, in yesterday's incidents, both elephants were not fitted with a radio collar," stated Gopal.
In April, an elephant was shot dead by a resident in Palangala village of Kodagu. In the same month, forest officials rescued five elephants stuck in a slushy pond in the village.
The conflict has led to loss of both human and elephant lives and forest officials have tried digging trenches, setting up solar fencing, iron fencing, spike pillars among other steps to resolve the issue.