Maneka Gandhi used the initial reports which stated that the killing took place in Malappuram (which turned out to be false), to brand the Muslim-majority district as being violent towards animals.

Pregnant elephant killing Kerala cops book Maneka Gandhi for provocative statements
news Controversy Friday, June 05, 2020 - 20:07

Kerala police have registered a case against BJP MP Maneka Gandhi, after she made false statements based on the killing of a pregnant elephant in the state, which has turned into a communal issue. 

Malappuram district police chief Abdul Karim IPS confirmed to TNM that a First Information Report (FIR) has been registered under section 153 of the Indian Penal Code – wantonly giving provocation with intent to cause riot. On Wednesday, the former Union Minister had claimed in a video that the elephant was ‘fed a pineapple filled with a bomb’. Malappuram police have received seven complaints against Maneka Gandhi, and according to the Palakkad SP, the FIR was registered based on a complaint by a person named Jaleel. 

Not only had Maneka Gandhi gotten facts wrong about where the incident happened, she had also called Malappuram the ‘most violent district’ in the country, and made several baseless comments in her interview to ANI. "This Malappuram, it is such a district, which is perhaps the most disturbed in the whole of India. Every day there is some incident which comes from Malappuram. These people beat animals like anything. The panchayat people there not only abuse elephants, they throw poison on the ground, killing thousands of animals, they kill birds, they kill dogs. Every day there is some killing happening there,” she said.

“They kill so many women there,” she further claimed, “They have these Hindu-Muslim fights and cut the hands of people. It is a scary situation in Malappuram. It looks like the Kerala government is scared of them. Because no sort of action is taken over there. The weakest administrative people are sent to Malappuram. Now the question is, what is the Kerala government going to do?” she further said. 

“Every year, 600 elephants die in the state. Every third day, an elephant dies there. And that too people beat it up and it dies. They take them for parades in the hot sun. And if the elephant gets frightened and roams here and there, they immediately kill it. The keep it and insure it and then insert rusty nails into the elephant so that it gets gangrene and dies and then they claim insurance,” she claimed. 

The pregnant elephant that died in Mannarkkad taluk in Palakkad had eaten an explosive snare and passed away on May 27 inside the Velliyur river which runs through Palakkad and Malappuram. The elephant died in an area within Kottopadam panchayat in Mannarkkad taluk in Palakkad.

While one person named Wilson who works in an estate in Palakkad has been arrested, two others – Kareem and Riyazuddin, suspected to be the owners of the estate – are absconding.

Kerala Opposition Leader Ramesh Chennithala slammed Maneka's statement. "Social media is now full of hate speeches against a particular community," he said, in a letter, demanding that she withdraw her statement and apologise.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan had also condemned the attempts to communalise the killing of the pregnant elephant. "We are saddened by the fact some have used this tragedy to unleash a hate campaign. Lies built upon inaccurate descriptions and half-truths were employed to obliterate the truth. Some even tried to import bigotry into the narrative. Wrong priorities,” he said in a statement.

Statistics from the National Crime Records Bureau (NCRB) for the year 2018 disprove the BJP leader's claims. The central Kerala district does not rank high in crimes such as murder, dowry deaths, attempt to rape, attempt to murder, extortion, abduction or kidnapping. However, it ranks among the first 60 districts in crimes such as rape, sexual harassment and political rioting, according to India Today.

Show us some love! Support our journalism by becoming a TNM Member - Click here.