PUDUCHERRY: Controversy has erupted again after elephant Lakshmi of Sri Manakula Vinayagar temple in Puducherry, Tamil Nadu, was prevented from being brought to the temple for the past 12 days. The animal has not visited the temple since December 14 after the Department of Forest and Wildlife directed the authorities not to bring it to the temple until further orders.
Sources in the administration said the action was taken in response to a representation made to Union Minister for Women and Child Development Maneka Gandhi, an animal rights activist, by the People for Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). She had then forwarded the same to Puducherry Forest and Wildlife Department seeking action.
“They have expressed concern over the foot rot and mental health of the elephant. We are monitoring its health,” said Deputy Conservator of Forest G Sathiyamurthy.
The 28-year-old pachyderm has been with the temple for the past 22 years. She was donated to the temple when she was six years old. She had been part of rituals ever since. In the evenings, she stood near the entrance, blessing devotees with her trunk. Meanwhile, the action of the administration has drawn flak from the temple protection committee, which sought the intervention of the CM.