Rajeshwari, who lives in the Sri Sugavaneshwarar temple in Salem, has been suffering from acute Tuberculosis and also has an injured left leg, leaving her bed-ridden.

Shocking and painful Devotees slam HCs mercy killing order for TN temple elephant Image courtesy: DTnext
news Animal rights Tuesday, April 17, 2018 - 19:28

With the Madras High Court ruling to allow the mercy killing of an ailing temple elephant in Salem, upset devotees have strongly opposed the move.

Rajeswari, the 42-year-old pachyderm at the famous Sri Sugavaneshwarar temple in Salem, has been suffering from acute Tuberculosis and also has an injured left leg, leaving her bed-ridden.

Since Monday, devotees have been thronging the temple to catch a glimpse of their favourite elephant. Some are also accusing the temple administration for neglect and of being lax in their treatment of the ailing elephant.

Wishing for the elephant's natural demise, devotees are also considering moving the SC to oppose the mercy killing order.

"I heard about the mercy killing decision on TV yesterday. This decision is both shocking and painful for the devotees. When we came to know about this judgement, we decided that we are going to move the Supreme Court. This elephant should not be put to sleep, it should die a natural death. Just like when we have an old person in the house who the children have to take care of till the end, we also have to take of this elephant until her death," Gopinath, temple devotee told Puthiya Thalamurai.

The first bench of the Madras HC comprising Chief Justice Indira Bannerjee and Justice Abdul Quddhose on Monday passed an order stating, "...euthanasia should be performed so that it (the elephant) is relieved from prolonged agony and suffering".

However, the court asked for a veterinary officer in charge of the area to examine the elephant and certify that the animal's agony will only prolong if it continues to live, to carry out the order.

“If the Veterinary Officer certifies that the physical condition of Rajeshwari is such that it would be cruel to keep her alive, she should immediately be administered with euthanasia,” the order read.

The court allowed 48 hours for the medical examination to be conducted and the certificate to be issued. However, no official certificate has been issued yet.

The High Court order was passed following a PIL by S Muraleedharan who asked for the ailing jumbo to be put to sleep.

Rajeswari reportedly came to Salem in 1981, on an exchange program from Mudumalai Wildlife Sanctuary when she was a 5-year-old calf. She has been suffering from TB for the past 10 years and is currently being treated by a team of vets supervised by Madras Veterinary College and Namakkal Medical College professors.

The team has been administering glucose, antibiotics and other intravenous fluids to avoid dehydration. She is also being fed cucumbers, grapes and tender coconut water. However, her condition has not improved, the team said.

Become a TNM Member for just Rs 999!
You can also support us with a one-time payment.