ALAPPUZHA: Devotees of Dharma Sastha temple, Pullukulangara, near Kayamkulam, have installed a sculpture of Ganesan, a 48-year-old captive elephant died in 2009. Ganesan reached the temple at the age of 19 and left the world after three decades of services to its deity. During his time, he had made hundreds of fans as he had never harmed anyone - the public or caretakers. Made of ferrocement, white cement, chalk powder, gypsum and fine sand, Nair Service Society treasurer Dr M. Sasikumar unveiled the nine-foot tall and 11-foot long sculpture on Wednesday.
Presented to Devaswom as an offer to the deity On February 6, 1978, by a devotee, Ganesan used to be the bearer of the replica of the deity during the festival season. His idol became a reality after six years of efforts spending `8 lakh. "We worked hard for the past four months," said sculptor Onattukara Sreekumar. Though the Ganesan served the temple deity over three decades in a peaceful manner, his death became a reason for sudden spurt of controversy when on November 3, 2009, forest officers reached the temple to take possession of tusks as per the law and a mob turned them away.
V.K. Venkitachalam of Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force obtained information under the RTI that his tusks remained under the custody of temple administration, in naked violation of the provisions of the Wildlife Protection Act 1972 and the Wildlife Stock Declaration Rule 2003. Neither an individual nor a committee can claim legal authority to keep custody of tusks which is public property, and only the state has the right to conserve it. He also appreciated the people’s effort in setting up idol not going for a new pachyderm. However, he says, keeping the tusks with the Devaswom is not a good precedence. "I have a sent a complaint to the officials concerned," he said.