TIRUCHY: The elephant of the famous Mariamman temple at Samayapuram near Tiruchy went wild on Friday and tragically killed its mahout when he tried to control the animal with his ‘elephant goad’. As a result of this incident, the temple was closed for ‘darshan’ to the devotees. It is likely that the ‘darshan’ will resume on Saturday, sources told DC over the phone.
Police said nine-year-old female elephant named ‘Masini’, which was tied to a pillar near the rear entrance of the temple suddenly became restless and started trumpeting loudly.
On seeing the elephant’s unusual behavior, its mahout Gajendran attempted to control the elephant by giving her blow with his ‘goad’ (‘Angusam’) on its front leg. But the elephant turned wild, caught hold of the mahout by its trunk, threw him on the ground and stamped him to death.
The panic-stricken devotees and temple staff ran helter-skelter for their safety. In the melee, at least seven devotees sustained minor injuries. The temple authorities then cleared the large number of devotees inside the sanctum sanctorum. The staff locked all the four gates by leaving the incensed elephant inside the temple complex.
Police rushed to the spot and removed the injured to the hospital and informed the matter to the Forest department. The officials who came to the spot expressed their inability to inject tranquilizer to the elephant to bring it under control. Meanwhile, six other mahouts from nearby temples were rushed to the spot and they managed to bring the elephant under control, by tying the back legs of the elephant.
Police removed the body of the mahout for post-mortem. The efforts of the Forest department personnel and other mahouts to move the elephant to a safe place proved futile. Temple sources told DC that being a Friday, thousands of devotees were seen waiting near all the four entrances to have a glimpse of Goddess Mariamman.
It was felt that it was not advisable to move the elephant out without being tranquilized. Hence, the temple will reopen for ‘darshan’ to devotees latest by Saturday afternoon, after performing necessary 'parihara poojas'. The elephant was donated to the temple by late Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa in 2015, sources said....