Manikandan laid down his life on the call of duty
The world grieves with Manikandan’s family, friends and colleagues
Bangalore/New Delhi: Dignitories, Forest officers and people from all walks of life around the world are deeply saddened by the news of Senior IFS officer Dr. S. Manikandan (aged 46, hailing from Cumbum in Theni District, Tamilnadu), Conservator of Forests and Field Director of Nagarahole Tiger Reserve in Karnataka, who passed away under tragic circumstances when he was attacked by a wild tusker by the Kabini backwaters where he had gone to inspect a minor forest fire on Saturday (3 March 2018 in the noon hours).
Sad to learn of the very unfortunate death of Shri S. Manikandan, a dedicated Indian Forest Service officer who lost his life in a freak incident while on duty in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. The nation salutes him. Thoughts with his family, friends and colleagues. – Ram Nath Kovind, President of India
My thoughts are with the family, friends and colleagues of Shri S. Manikandan, who lost his life while on duty at the Nagarahole Tiger Reserve. The country will remember him for his rich service and passion towards wildlife and forest conservation: Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
Deepest condolences to the family, friends & colleagues of S Manikandan, Field Director, Nagarahole Tiger Reserve, who was killed by a Tusker while on duty. The Karnataka cadre IFS officer had passion for conservation. His death is big loss for his fraternity & country. – Prakash Javadekar, Minister for Human Resource Development, Government of India
The Hindu, one of the first to break the news, reported that Dr. Manikandan, who was accompanied by a few staff, was walking to take GPS reading when a lone tusker attacked the group from behind.
A batchmate of Manikandan, after discussions with forest officers of Karnataka, today circulated a message among his IFS friends. According to him, “it appears that after alighting from his vehicle, Manikandan and staff were walking on a “pugdandi” (footpath) on both sides of which there was heavy growth of lantana. The elephant attacked from his right and instead of running either straight or back along the pugdandi, Manikandan ran to the left and got stuck in the lantana bushes. The rest of the staff ran along the pugdandi. Also at that point of time there was each to himself as nobody fired or shouted to scare the elephant. Such decisions have to be thought out in the mind much before as it is to be taken in few milliseconds.”
A former Principal Chief Conservator of Forest, when contacted said it would be wrong to say that Manikandan “lost his life in a freak incident while on duty in Nagarahole Tiger Reserve”. The forest officers and staff have to put their life on line every day being fully aware of the perils.” he said and drove home the point that Manikandan had laid down his life on the call of duty.
Dr. Manikandan was a B.Sc in Agri (1989-1993) from TNAU, M.Sc in Agricultural Entomology, PhD (Entomology) – from IARI, New Delhi. He was a Faculty in IWST & later joined the 2001 IFS Batch – Karnataka Cadre.