People For Animals, which rescued Neelakantan, asked the court to dismiss the Travancore Devaswom Board as the elephant's custodian.

Torture of temple elephant Kerala HC orders Forest Dept to submit reportImage Courtesy: People for Animals.
news Animal's Health Friday, December 21, 2018 - 20:24

The Kerala High Court on Thursday the directed veterinarians of the Forest Department to examine the health condition of the tortured elephant and submit a report.

The HC’s orders came after a harrowing video of the elephant severely hurt and struggling to stand up, came to light early in December. Neelakantan, the elephant of Sree Dharma Sastha Temple, in Kollam, run by the Travancore Devaswom Board has been suffering from unhealed wounds due to the torture he faced at the hands of his mahouts.

The High Court had taken suo motu cognisance of the the torture and the neglect on December 17 after the video surfaced. Neelakantan was not given sufficient food, his legs were tied and was in constant pain. He was rescued by activists from People For Animals.

“The Devaswom Board told the court that now that Neelakantan’s chain was lowered and now he is taken good care of. The Board also told the court that they are ready to hand over the elephant to the Forest Department. However, the court directed the Forest Department to appoint veterinarians to examine on the health of the elephant and submit a report,” said Sreedevi S Kartha of People For Animals.

PFA, meanwhile, submitted a petition to the court saying that the elephant should be provided quality life, freeing it from chains. The 20-year old male elephant is currently unable to move freely as his hind limbs has severe wounds. His legs were tied with chains during the musth period. The wounds never healed as Neelakantan wasn’t freed from the chain even after the musth period was over. Musth is a frenzied state of male elephant once a year during its mating season.

Pictures and videos of 20-year old Neelakantan facing abject neglect was captured by a PFA member which exposed the cruelty.  

PFA, in the petition, also stated that the elephant should be shifted to an enclosure with a bull pen or to a facility where elephants are allowed to roam free. It further requested the court to not to allow the Devaswom Board to retain the ownership of the elephant.

The court adjourned the hearing to January 10. A PFA team from Thiruvananthapuram visited Neelakantan on Thursday. “Now that the torture and the neglect was exposed the temple authorities and the local people were keen to show that they really care for Neelakantan. One solacing thing is that he has been shifted to a place where there is more shade,” Sreedevi added.

Read: Tortured, neglected and starved: Kerala HC to decide fate of temple elephant Neelakantan


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