Woman who made documentary on elephants in Kerala faces cyber-bullying

The Viswa Gaja Seva Samithi has filed a petition in the Kerala High Court seeking an order to the state government to dissociate itself from the woman who is a foreign citizen.

Published: 18th November 2019 01:46 AM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2019 08:43 AM   |  A+A-

Sangita Iyer with a jumbo

Sangita Iyer with a jumbo

Express News Service

THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: Malayalees are passionate about elephants and Sangita Iyer is no different. She is the first woman who documented the plight of captive elephants in Kerala and made a documentary titled ‘Gods in Shackles’, a United Nations nominated and multiple award-winning film screened around the world, is a harried person these days. 

Her love for the jumbos has fallen foul with certain other fans of captive elephants so much so that an organisation named Viswa Gaja Seva Samithi has filed a petition in the Kerala High Court seeking an order to the state government to dissociate itself from the woman who is a foreign citizen. The court has sent a notice to the state government seeking its views on the petition. 

This is not the first time Sangita, who was honoured by the country by presenting the Nari Shakti Puraskar, which is the highest civilian honour for women in India, has faced the ire of festival lobby groups. Ever since the release of her film, she has faced cyber-bullying, and veiled and explicit threats. 

ALSO READ| Committee formed to conserve wild elephants in Kerala

Innuendos, threats

She is described as ‘Sangita crypto Iyer’ on social media, accused of being a member of the FCRA (Foreign Contribution (Regulation) Act) mafia and is bombarded with derogatory remarks. 

She had filed two complaints to the state police chief seeking protection saying that her safety is constantly threatened by the elephant mafia. The latest case was provoked by a training programme for the mahouts that she had led in October at the Kottoor Elephant Rehabilitation Centre in Thiruvananthapuram, after the Chief Wildlife Warden invited her and her team. She sought and got police protection when she came for the Gentle Giants Summit that concluded in the capital on Saturday. 

Speaking to TNIE, Sangita, founder of Voice for Asian Elephants Society (VFAES), said, “I’m being constantly threatened by the festival mafia as I’ve exposed the inhumane treatment of captive elephants. Everything I’ve done in Kerala is for the welfare for elephants, and so was the training programme, which was embraced by the mahouts and authorities.

ALSO READ | Coimbatore's notorious bad boy Chinna Thambi now guards Arisiraja at Varagaliyar

“But, instead of changing their attitude toward the elephants, they’re making nefarious claims about my citizenship after failing to unearth anything incriminating against me. 

“My awareness and education programmes are based on scientific information that I’ve gathered over the past five years, since I took on this mission to end the suffering of the endangered captive and wild Asian elephants. In April, I conducted a programme for the Student Police Cadets, which was hugely successful.”


Disclaimer : We respect your thoughts and views! But we need to be judicious while moderating your comments. All the comments will be moderated by the editorial. Abstain from posting comments that are obscene, defamatory or inflammatory, and do not indulge in personal attacks. Try to avoid outside hyperlinks inside the comment. Help us delete comments that do not follow these guidelines.

The views expressed in comments published on are those of the comment writers alone. They do not represent the views or opinions of or its staff, nor do they represent the views or opinions of The New Indian Express Group, or any entity of, or affiliated with, The New Indian Express Group. reserves the right to take any or all comments down at any time.

flipboard facebook twitter whatsapp