CHENNAI: Aiming to end the exploitation of elephants by their owners, the Madras High Court on Tuesday directed the State to frame a policy to prohibit private ownership of elephants by individuals and temples. The first bench, comprising Chief Justice Sanjib Banerjee and Senthilkumar Ramamoorthy, observed that people who exploit elephants should be dealt with as mercilessly as they treat the animals.
The court made this observation while hearing submission on a petition filed by Rangarajan Narasimhan, a devotee of Srirangam temple. The petitioner sought for the court to issue a direction to the government to file a report on the protection of temple elephants.
“A few years ago, the mahout of Srirangam temple, who worked for 27 years, was removed from service without any notice,” the petitioner stated, adding that as per Rule 4(4) of the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, an elephant must be maintained by the same mahout and cavady (mahout’s assistant) throughout its lifespan. However, this was flouted, he stated.
The petitioner highlighted what he said was poor upkeep and inhumane treatment of elephants owned by Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple and other temples, and sought for the State to file a detailed report on the steps taken to rehabilitate the temple elephant.
The bench said the government’s policy should ensure only the forest department has the authority to own elephants, for their proper maintenance. However, the State contended that there is an exclusive place for such purposes in MR Palayam, between Tiruchy and Perambalur. The bench recorded the submissions and directed the State government to file a comprehensive report within eight weeks.
tortured elephant refusing food?
Coimbatore: Two days after being beaten up by her caretakers at the annual rejuvenation camp in Thekkampatti, temple elephant Jeymalyatha is reportedly refusing to consume food offered by her new attendant Subramaniam. Sources in the animal husbandry department attribute the behavioural change to the absence of her mahout. Contradicting their claims, Veterinary Officer with the Coimbatore Forest Division, A Sugumar, said the animal has started eating well. Sugumar is one of the expert committee members appointed by the State to monitor the animal’s health.