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Thrissur-based animal rights campaigner Heritage Animal Task Force, condemned the alleged torture of elephants, who were paraded inside the Vaikom Mahadeva Temple in Kottayam district of Kerala as part of a festival, and claimed the parades were ‘unlawful’.
In a letter to the Director, Project Elephant, Environment and Forest Ministry, it complained that more than three elephants were paraded inside the temple premises on November 16 and 17 during the annual Vaikkathashtamy festival and both parades were ‘unlawful’.
“Both these elephant parades were unlawful as the Elephant Parade Rule issued by State Forest Secretary on March 13, 2013 specifically states that nobody has the freedom to allow entry of more than three elephants at a time,” Task Force secretary V K Venkitachalam said.
But the officials of departments of Devaswom, the temple management body, police and forest remained mute spectators without initiating any penal action against those responsible “for this type of violations related to elephant parade,” he alleged in the letter.
“Anyone can see the torture inflicted by placing flaming torch very near to the body of the elephants as part of the rituals. As the temple complex is brightly illuminated by electric lights, use of flaming torches are meant only to scare the elephants,” he claimed.
The campaigner also urged the Centre to take steps to ban these types of ‘unlawful’ elephant parades at the earliest.