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"Temple elephant tramples mahout to death in India"

"Temple elephant tramples mahout to death in India"


Story by Sagaya Fernando
Mumbai: 25 May 2018



The mahout of a temple elephant in the South Indian state of Tamil Nadu was trampled to death by the enraged pachyderm today morning.

Three women and a child sustained injuries after the elephant suddenly turned violent during the course of religious rituals at Samayapuram Mariamman Temple near the city of Tiruchirapalli.

Panicked devotees ran helter-skelter to escape from the rampaging, and the temple gates were shut with the elephant venting its anger on the hapless mahout.

Video of the incident taken by a devotee shows a man attempting to divert the attention of the elephant to save the mahout but in vain.

“The incident took place around 11 in the morning. Gajendran, the 42-year-old mahout, was trampled to death by Masini, the nine-year-old temple elephant which turned violent all of a sudden,” informed Samayapuram police station inspector D Gnanvelan.

The deceased mahout hailed from Mahalikudi near Samayapuram.

Forest department officials rushed to the temple and launched efforts to calm down the restive elephant.

Masini had been experiencing trauma and torture from the day it was sent to the Samayapuram temple, allege wildlife activists. This is the second occasion the pachyderm has burst out in anger.

“Elephants in captivity are being exploited for profit in tourism and in festivals under the guise of religion. Many are forced to stand still for hours on end to bless devotees. It is not in the nature of elephants to be immobile. In their natural habitats in the jungles they continuously walk on foraging for food, but in captivity they are chained and kept immobile which frustrates them and makes them run amok,” says wildlife activist Suparna Ganguly who is the Co-founder Trustee of Compassion Unlimited Plus Action (CUPA) and Wildlife Rescue & Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC), Bengaluru. 

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