People were cleared out of the Samayapuram Mariamman temple and 10-year-old Masini has been calmed down with the help of other mahouts in the area.

Temple elephant in Tamil Nadu tramples mahout to death
news Death Friday, May 25, 2018 - 16:31

In a shocking incident in the temple suburb of Samayapuram in Trichy district, an elephant trampled her mahout to death on Friday. Ten-year-old Masini has been the presiding elephant at the Samayapuram Mariamman temple for the past four years.

In visuals that have emerged moments after the incident, the elephant is seen repeatedly stepping on the mahout’s lifeless body and moving in circles inside the main temple premises. She drags him from side to side, as one man tries to retrieve the mahout’s body.

According to local news reports, the elephant was blessing pilgrims as usual in front of the prasadam stall inside the temple, when she suddenly pushed Gajendran, her 48 year-old mahout, off her back using her trunk. As Gajendran tried to bring her under control, she trampled him to death.

Speaking to TNM, the District Forest Officer Sujatha says, “Around 10.30 am, Masini trampled her mahout to death. The elephant was triggered by something, we don’t know what exactly. The public was at a distance from the elephant. There were 300 to 400 people inside. No one else was injured. Four mahouts from various temples have been brought in to help. She was aggressive for around 30 to 40 minutes. She has been chained now and has been calmed down.”

The officer adds, “A team of veterinary doctors have arrived to provide treatment to the elephant. The mahout’s body has been retrieved and has been sent for post-mortem. He has worked at the temple as a mahout for four years now.”

According to the Forest Department, the elephant hails from Mudumalai and was brought to the temple in 2014. In January, Masini was sent to an elephant rejuvenation camp in Thekkampatti along with over 30 other elephants from the state.

With pilgrims being asked to step out, the temple has been shut for the day. The officials are hoping to take the elephant back to its choultry in the evening when there are fewer people around.

Also read: Explainer: Why are elephants dying in Tamil Nadu?

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