KOCHI: Alleging that an injured elephant was being paraded at temple festivals in Palakkad district, Heritage Animal Task Force secretary V K Venkitachalam has approached Governor P Sathasivam and Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan seeking action against the owners.
According to Venkitachalam, the elephant Ithithanam Vishnu Narayanan is being paraded in temple festivals violating the guidelines for parading elephants at temple festivals. The elephant has been inflicted deep wounds on its hind legs and mahouts climb on top of the animal stamping on these wounds. “The mahouts deliberately inflict wounds on the elephants to suppress its musth. The animal will be running high fever if it is suffering from an infection. Despite the wounds they are parading the elephants in Palakkad and Thrissur districts,” he said.
Last year the Forest Department had booked a criminal case against the owner and the festival committee of Naithalakkavu Bhagavathi Temple for parading Vishnu Narayanan with wounds. The wounds have not healed but the elephant is being tortured and paraded at festivals, said Venkitachalam. “The animal was paraded at a festival at Tamarakulangara in Palakkad district two days ago. The Forest Department had imposed a ban on parading this elephant in Ernakulam and Kottayam districts in November 2018. So the owners have taken it to Palakkad,” he said.
Responding to the allegation, Conservator of Forests (Central Region) M S Jayaraman said he has forwarded the complaint to the ACF concerned. “There is a monitoring committee under the leadership of the District Collector which gives permission for parading elephants. If a veterinary surgeon checks the wounds and gives certificate, the Forest Department can’t stop parading an elephant,” he said.