THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: A day after a tusker hurled a man in Thodupuzha while trying to kiss its trunk by lifting himself on its two tusks, an NGO has complained to the state police chief against two cops who had posted a picture on Facebook showing them standing on either side of Guruvayur Padmanabhan holding its tusks. Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF) secretary V. K. Venkitachalam, in his complaint on Tuesday, said they had violated ‘clause 6’ of the ‘parade guidelines’ issued by the forest department in 2013. He also argued that their picture holding tusks of an elephant would give the impression that it was legal to touch them.
The clause stipulates that people should stand, and walk, at a distance of at least three metres from an elephant. It states that no one except the mahouts should touch an elephant. Mr Venkitachalam’s argument is that the officers were lucky not to be attacked by the animal. According to him, Guruvayur Padmanabha is a troubled tusker. “The Guruvayoor Devaswom has decided to keep Padmanabhan away from festival grounds a complaint we filed,” he said.
The HATF had given proof that Padmanabhan was tortured at various places during Onam, Navaratri and Deepavali festivals. “On its basis, the forest department officials examined Padmanabhan and found that it had wounds all over its body,” he said. “The Police Manual does not permit any official in official uniform to pose with an elephant at any place and especially during the conduct of official duty.” Also, he added that the photograph gave a wrong message to the public that it was legal to touch the tusk of an elephant “as per the whims and pleasures of any individual”.