It was a day of high drama at Pandalur near Gudalur in The Nilgiris on Tuesday as shopkeepers downed shutters and some of them, led by DMK MLA Dravidamani, observed a fast while another group of people resorted to picketing demanding an early solution to man-animal conflicts in the region.

On January 14, an elephant trampled to death a resident, Aneesh Abraham. This triggered protests and the police registered cases against the protesters. On Tuesday, the protesters demanded withdrawal of the cases and sought a lasting solution to the straying of elephants into human habitats in Gudalur and Pandalur taluks.

The Forest Department used two kumki from Mudumalai elephant camp to drive the herd back into deep forests and to prevent their frequent depredation into human habitations.

Forest officials said that the herd comprised two males, four females and a calf. One of the male elephants was said to be in a state of musth. The operation on Tuesday did not yield the result because of the traffic on Tamil Nadu – Kerala – Karnataka inter-State road, the officials said.

They said that the herd should be first chased across the road and from there to the forests of Kerala.

The chasing operation will continue on Wednesday.