Elephant kills mahout at Gurvayur procession

A devotee, Devaki Amma, 67, of Guruvayur suffered fractures on her leg after she fell on the ground.

Thrissur: A Guruvayur Devaswom elephant gored its mahout to death during the special seeveli procession inside Lord Sri Krishna Temple on Sunday. The temple had taken three elephants for the procession in the limited space inside the chuttambalam when there was a massive rush of devotees, 12 of them also suffered injuries in the ruckus. Sree Krishnan ran amok and attacked his mahout, Subash, 47, of Kothachira in Palakkad, who suffered severe injuries in his chest and underwent surgery at Amala Hospital but died in the afternoon.

A devotee, Devaki Amma, 67, of Guruvayur suffered fractures on her leg after she fell on the ground. There were more than a thousand devotees who ran helter-skelter. The other two elephants which were part of the seeveli procession – Ravi Krishnan and Gopi Kannan- also ran in different directions. Tension prevailed in the temple for nearly one-and-half hours. The assistant priest carrying the kolam and thidambu on the back of Gopi Krishnan had to place them on the ground as he alighted from atop the elephant to save his life.

Guruvayur Temple Police has registered a case. Meanwhile, the Prathikarana Vedi of animal rights activists have come out against the temple administrators for putting the lives of hundreds of devotees at stake. “The elephant is not a well tamed. It has caused troubles when brought into the crowd earlier as well," said V. K. Venkatachlam of Heritage Animal Task Force, an NGO. "The manager of the elephant sanctuary, the veterinary doctors of the GD and the managing committee headed by Peethambara Kurup need to be held responsible."

He wanted the GD officials and managing committee members booked for the major safety lapse taking three elephants inside when there was a huge rush. "It is also high time elephants are kept off from such ceremonies inside the temple. The priests can carry thidambu and kolam himself or on a chariot as in temples in other states,” he suggested. The GD is yet to come up with an official statement.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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