'Focus on ways to prevent animal cruelty': V Muraleedharan on elephant's death in Kerala

New Delhi (Kerala) [India], June 5 (ANI): Instead of focussing where the tragic death of the pregnant elephant took place, emphasis should be on finding ways to prevent cruelty against animals, said Union Minister V Muraleedharan.

The minister of State for External Affairs who hails from Kerala was reacting to the controversy that erupted after a pregnant elephant died in Palakkad in Kerala and sparked a controversy, with Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan terming the unfortunate death as "a painful thing" and Union Environment Minister Prakash Javadekar saying that the Centre has taken a "serious note" of the incident.

Referring to media reports, especially in the context of the naming of a particular district, Muraleedharan said that it was natural for people in Delhi to go by the reports. He asserted that it was not the intention of anybody to malign the image of a particular place or district.

"An elephant died. He was fed cracker stuffed in a food substance. But controversy has erupted in Kerala that some BJP leaders said that it happened in Malapuram. My point is that the controversy that is to be discussed is animal cruelty, and how we must take preventative and corrective steps further," Muraleedharan told reporters here.

Many people including, former Union minister and BJP leader Maneka Gandhi had claimed it happened in Malappuram district. Congress had demanded an apology from her for her remarks.

"If some newspapers and media persons had reported that this happened in a particular district, it's natural for the people who are in Delhi to go by the media reports. So they might have done that. It is not an intentional effort to malign anybody," said Muraleedharan.

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The elephant had died in Palakkad district on May 27 after it ate a pineapple stuffed with crackers and forest officials said that it died standing in river Velliyar after it suffered an injury in its lower jaw.

One man has been arrested in connection with the death of a pregnant elephant in Palakkad district here, Kerala Forest Minister K Raju said on Friday. (ANI)