KOCHI: The Forest Department has initiated a probe into the alleged parading of an elephant at the LDF procession marking the culmination of open campaigning at Pala on Sunday.
According to animal rights activists, an elephant, Ambadi Balan, was paraded during the roadshow marking the culmination of LDF candidate for Kottayam constituency V N Vasavan’s campaign at Pala on Sunday evening. Amidst the spirited display of strength, the animal ran amok triggering panic among the people participating in the procession.
“I have directed the ACF to inquire into the incident and file a report on the incident,” said Chief Conservator of Forest M S Jayaraman.The Election Commission, in the model code of conduct released in March this year, had advised the political parties and candidates to refrain from using live animals for election campaign in any manner.
“Even a party, having reserved symbols depicting an animal should not make live demonstration of that animal in any election campaign of the party,” says the model code of conduct.The Kerala Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2012, restricts the parading of elephants at festivals registered after 2015. “Parading of elephants at functions other than festivals without previous permission is a serious offence. The Forest Department can initiate action against the owner and the police have to book a case for parading the animal without permission,” said a forest officer.
Heritage Animal Task Force secretary V K Venkatachalam and animal activist M N Jayachandran have filed complaints to the Chief Electoral Officer and Chief Wildlife Warden seeking punitive action against the organisers of the programme and the elephant owner.When contacted, CPM Kottayam constituency candidate V N Vasavan said he was not aware of the incident.