news Friday, July 17, 2015 - 05:30
Even as a fierce debate is raging in Kerala over the rights of animals viz a vis the limiting the population of stray dogs possibly by mass culling, actor Ranjini Haridas is in a soup for a photo that was supposedly contrary to her love for animals.   Ranjini Haridas has been one of the most vocal opponents of the government's plan of mass culling. Recently, pictures of her riding an elephant and another showing her holding onto an elephant's tusks have appeared on social media, in an apparent bid to counter her claims of being an animal lover.   The pictures show Ranjini and actress Nazriya Nazeem enjoying an elephant ride at the Kodanad Elephant camp in Ernakulam and have gone viral, prompting people to ask whether her love for animals is limited to dogs. But more seriously, questions about the legality of riding an elephant are also being raised.     A few days ago, Ranjini and other animal activists had disrupted a state-wide meeting in Thiruvananthapuram called by panchayat leaders to discuss ways to deal with stray dogs. Ranjini had seized the mike and objected to mass culling and insisted that sterilisation of strays was more humane.   Thrissur-based elephant welfare association, Heritage Animal Task Force (HATF) has also sent a letter to the Central Animal Welfare Board and to Director General of Forests seeking action against the issue.   HATF claims that the Kerala High Court had in 2014, said that the elephants under Forest Department cannot be used for rides.     Speaking to The News Minute, Ranjini denied that she violated the law, claiming that the pictures were taken in 2009, three years before the new law was implemented.   “It was a photo shoot for Mathrubhumi Yathra magazine in 2009 before these laws were implemented. If there are any issues then they can deal it with Mathrubhumi as it was their official arrangement,” Ranjini told TNM.