Mysore/Mysuru: A farmer has been arrested by Forest Department officials on charges of firing at and injuring Dasara elephant ‘Balarama’, who has the record of carrying ‘Golden Howdah’ during Mysuru Dasara procession for 13 successive years from 1999 to 2011. The arrested has been identified as M.A. Suresh of Alalur in Periyapatna taluk.
Details: Dasara elephant ‘Balarama’ who was sheltered in Bheemanakatte elephant camp coming under Hunsur Wildlife division, was let out to the adjacent forest to have food at about 9.30 pm on the night of Dec.15. But 30 minutes later, the Forest Department staff heard gun shots and elephant cries (trumpet), following which they went in search of the elephant in the direction from where they heard the sound.
After some time, they found Balarama lying injured on the ground and further search led them to discover a man atop a tree holding a gun, close to the spot. Soon they took the man, who was later identified as Suresh of Alalur village, into their custody.
The Forest Department staff summoned veterinarian Dr. Ramesh to the spot, who removed about 35 cartridges (Cycle Ball type) from the elephant’s body and dressed the wounds.
After getting timely treatment, Balarama recovered, following which the pachyderm was brought back to its camp by Mahouts and Kavadis, where it is undergoing continued treatment for gunshot wounds.
Meanwhile, Forest officials said that Suresh had grown paddy and maize in his agricultural field. In order to prevent wild animals venturing his field during night, Suresh, armed with a gun, used to keep a watch, sitting on a small wooden platform placed atop a tree. As Balarama ventured into his field, Suresh believing that a wild elephant had indeed entered, shot at the elephant multiple times, causing many injuries on its body, they pointed out.
They further said that Suresh should have fired shots in the air to scare away the jumbo, instead of firing directly at Balarama, causing injuries to the pachyderm and as such, he has been arrested under Wildlife (Protection) Act.