Protests over death of temple elephant in Kerala, negligence alleged

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Alappuzha(Ker), Apr 8 (PTI) Tension prevailed at Ambalappuzha near here on Thursday following protests by a section of people over the death of a captive elephant owned by the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) at a temple premises, police said.

The protesters alleged that the 57-year-old temple elephant namely Ambalappuzha Vijayakrishnan, who had a huge fan following in the area, died due to negligence on part of the TDB officials and its mahouts.

The agitators, including animal lovers and devotees, alleged that the elephant had not been taking food properly for the past few days.

Ignoring its health condition, the TDB authorities granted permission for it to be paraded in temple festivals at various places, they claimed.

Locals gathered on the premises of the famous Ambalappuzha Sri Krishnaswamy temple on hearing about the death of the elephant this morning and prevented the authorities from taking the remains for burial.

Police said people withdrew their protest late in the evening after TDB president N Vasu and other officials of the board assured that stringent action would be taken against those who are responsible for the death of the pachyderm.

Later, the body of the animal was taken to Konni forest area for its postmortem and burial.

According to officials, Ambalappuzha Vijayakrishnan had been a popular elephant since it was presented to the deity of the temple by a devotee some 34 years ago.

The people of the area loved the jumbo due to its peace- loving nature,they said. PTI TGB ROH ROH