The first and second accused are owners of the Palakkad plantation where the wild boar snare which killed the pregnant elephant was placed.

Kerala pregnant elephant killing First and second accused still on the run
news Wildlife Wednesday, June 10, 2020 - 16:08

Seven days after the FIR (first information report) was filed in the killing of the pregnant elephant in Kerala’s Palakkad, search is still on for the first and second accused — Abdul Kareem and Riyazuddin. They are the owners of the plantation in Kappuparambu Challikal in Palakkad’s Mannarkkad taluk, where the explosive snare that killed the pregnant elephant was placed.

The Edathanattukara natives in Palakkad are the first and second accused in the case. Police arrested Wilson Joseph, a rubber tapper in the plantation and third accused on June 5.

“We have confirmed that the specific snare was placed to cull wild boars for their meat. It was a coconut filled with explosives,” U Aashiq Ali, a range officer who is part of the investigating team, confirmed to TNM.

Reports also claimed that Riyazuddin, the second accused, is a member of the Indian Union Muslim League (IUML) in Palakkad. However, investigating officials are yet to confirm this. “We have to get hold of him and question him to know if he is a card holding member of any party. The investigating team is not focusing on this as it is not a political crime. It is a wildlife crime and appropriate sections have been added to the case,” Palakkad Superintendent of Police (SP) G Siva Vikram IPS told TNM.

The 15-year-old elephant from Kerala’s Silent Valley Reserve died on May 27, after consuming a coconut laden with explosives in Palakkad. According to the post-mortem, the pachyderm died due to a soft explosion in her mouth, leaving her lower jaw and tongue completely damaged. The elephant also could not eat or drink water for weeks following the explosion, and died standing in the Velliyar river, dipping her mouth inside the cool water to relieve herself from the agony.

It was found in the post-mortem that she was one-month pregnant. Her carcass as well that of the month-old foetus were buried in a forest department reserve land in Palakkad’s Kacheriparambu on May 28.

The case gained nationwide attention when the incident came to light a week after the elephant’s death. It then took a communal turn due to erroneous reports that claimed that the elephant was intentionally fed the explosives and that it took place in Malappuram - a Muslim dominated district in Kerala.

 

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