Thrissur/Kochi: A decision on allowing rogue elephant Thechikottukavu Ramachandran to take part in the traditional ritual of heralding Thrissur Pooram will be taken after three veterinary experts confirm the fitness of the jumbo on Saturday. This was decided at a meeting of the District Captive Elephant Monitoring Committee (DCEMC) chaired by Thrissur collector T.V. Anupama at the collectorate on Friday. The High Court on Friday morning had rejected the plea of Thechikottukavu Devaswom to lift the ban on the elephant, which has killed 13 persons and three elephants since 1986, and said that it was up to the DCEMC to decide on it.
The forest department had banned the elephant from being paraded at events after it killed two persons at a private festival at Kottappadi near Guruvayur in February.
Ramachandran has been involved in the traditional heralding of the Pooram by opening the south gopuram door of Vadakkunatha temple. For many years, it has also been carrying the Thidambu (replica of the deity) of Neythalakkavu Bhagavathy.
If the veterinary experts find it fit, the pachyderm, which is the second tallest in Asia, will take part in the traditional event on Sunday morning prior to the Pooram fete on Monday.
A veterinary expert from the forest department along with two from the veterinary department would conduct the health check-up on the elephant.
After the High Court rejected the plea, the additional advocate-general gave a legal advice to the state government that if necessary the elephant could be paraded for a short period on Sunday for pushing open the doors of the temple tower by keeping it at a safe distance from the crowd and by putting the entire responsibility on the devaswom owning the elephant.
The High Court, which disposed of a petition on the matter, said the decision taken by the committee chaired by the district collector should be the final.
The elephant having vision in only one eye has been known to be very restive in crowded situations. According to V.K. Venkitachalam of Heritage Animal Task Force, the elephant is extremely sensitive as it lacks vision in the left eye. So it shoves away anything coming near to it as a self-defence mechanism.
He said the advice given by the additional advocate-general was to allow Ramachandran to be paraded at least for an hour in the event. This has no legal validity, he added.
With the decision of the monitoring committee, The Kerala Elephant Owners' Federation has decided to parade their elephants for Pooram. A Mahesh, a state-level functionary of the Federation said Thechikottukavu did not have any health or fitness problems and would surely get the fitness certificate....