Travancore Devaswom Board sued for cruelty to elephant

Mullakkal Balakrishnan was transported violating rules.

Alappuzha: The assistant conservator of forests (ACF) here has slapped non-bailable charges under Wildlife Protection Act on Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) and its mahouts for cruelty to temple elephant Mullakkal Balakrishnan. The preliminary report based on the Supreme Court order in August 2015 which stipulates criminal action against Devaswom authorities or elephant owners if rules are violated, was submitted to Judicial First Magistrate Court, Cherthala. "All people responsible for transporting the elephant late in the night in a truck without proper security arrangements will be booked," ACF Sumi Joseph said.

The range officer Nazarudeen Kunju, who prepared and submitted the report the other day, said they forced the elephant to travel on the vehicle without giving mandatory six-hour rest. "The elephant jumped from the truck after being hurt when the speeding vehicle applied a sudden break. So we have registered a non-bailable case. We arrested nobody as the mahouts have been treating the injured elephant at Cherthala," he said.

This is the first case the Alappuzha range officer was investigating. Earlier it was Ranni range officer who was handling the matters in Alappuzha. "We had first filed the case in the Alappuzha judicial first class magistrate court, but it directed us to the Cherthala court as it was the place of occurrence," he said, adding a detailed report will follow soon. He initiated action on the demand of animal rights activists. The 45-year-old jumbo which ran several kilometres amok and fell into a swamp was rescued after 17 hours.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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