KOLLAM: In the latest incident of unlawful parading of elephants as part of festivals, an elephant ran amok at Thazhuthala in Kollam last week, and the animal rights activists accuse the organisers of flouting the district collector's order to adhere to rules. "The district elephant monitoring committee meeting should be convened before conducting parades as per a Supreme Court directive," says V.K. Venkitachalam, who heads the Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force.
"This has been violated here. The collector should seek a report from tahsildar and fire officer on separate spaces provided for people and animals before deciding on the number of elephants for the parade. Here the organisers have not obtained the legal permission." The elephant that ran amok was tortured by pulling its tail, beating, and even pelting stones at it. In a petition sent to the Union environment, forest and climate change ministry, he accused the police of remaining mute spectators to the torture.
Elephant Aayayil Gourinandan was paraded along with 14 others at a local temple festival. "As per rules, police officials have to take control of the area where a dangerous wild animal like elephant ran amok. But they did nothing to control people," he said. "An ambulance of Kollam SPCA was seen here. But they too did nothing to save the elephant from his tormentors. The elephant had also sustained serious wounds at sensitive parts of its chest and right side front leg as a result of the use of banned weapon "thotti" by mahouts and their companions."