Tension prevailed at Kottayam’s Ettmanoor Mahadeva early on Monday morning when an elephant ran amok, trying to shake off its mahout. As many as 15 people, including children, were reportedly injured in the panic that ensued.
All the injured have been admitted to hospitals near the temple.
The mahout, however, escaped safely.
The incident occurred at around 3 am in the temple premises. The elephant, Mavelikkara Ganapathy, allegedly went on a rampage after it was accidently poked from behind by another tusker. In its frenzy, it tried shaking off its mahout.
The tusker can be seen vigorously moving its head and shaking its body. In the commotion that followed, a stampede-like situation prevailed and several people were injured.
In the chilling video that has emerged from the incident, the mahout can be seen clinging on for dear life. A group of quick-thinking locals, however, came to the rescue. They lowered a rope from the temple gopuram, and pulled him up to safety.
This comes even as several temples in Kerala have decided to do away with the practice of using elephants for rituals.
The latest to join the list was Nalpathenneeswaram Sree Mahadeva Temple where the administration decided to discontinue the use of elephants for temple rituals. Temple authorities later said that they would replace elephants with wooden structures.
Meanwhile, the Durga Bhagawati Temple in Kerala’s Wayanad opted for a life size model of an elephant during their annual festival celebrations.
Another temple that decided to do away from using elephants during temple annual festivals is Koikal Palliyara Bhagavati Temple in the state capital.
The authorities, who received a letter of appreciation from Union Minister Maneka Gandhi, said that the decision was unanimously taken by the administration taking into consideration the safety of the animals as well as the devotees.