The festival of Muharram passed off peacefully in Hyderabad as thousands of Shiites, took part in the renowned procession at Old City on Saturday, to mark the martyrdom of Imam Hussain, the grandson of Prophet Muhammad.
However, the main attraction at the event, Rajini, the elephant, which carries the Alam along the procession route, sustained minor injuries to its foot, the Times of India reported.
"There was a huge rush of people who were indulging in self-flagellation and were reciting verses loudly. Rajini had assumed that it was a threat and tried to move away. In the midst of doing so the shackles on its legs, dug into its skin," a veterinary officer, of the Nehru Zoological Park told TOI, while adding that "the space constraint and the influx of people overwhelmed the animal, which is why it ended up hurting itself."
Hamed Hussain Jaffery, president of AP and Telangana Shia Youth Association president Hamed Hussain Jaffery who witnessed the incident, told The Hindu that the animal panicked when the participants started raising slogans as the â€˜Bibi-ka-Alamâ€™ was being mounted on the elephant.
Veterinarians administered medicines to Rajini on Sunday and spent some time with her till she calmed down.
The 47-year-old elephant has been with the Hyderabad zoo for a few years now and is used for both Muharram and Bonalu processions in the city.
The permission of both, the environment ministry and the zoo park must be taken, before the elephant can be used for the religious procession.
The zoo authorities added that the mahout's presence of mind helped to bring the animal under control and avoid injuries to other people.