Temple authorities, mahouts likely to be arrested

The Forest Department has registered cases against six persons, including temples authorities and mahouts, following the death of tusker Ayyappan which got trapped in a swamp at Edakochi on Thursday.

The six accused in the case are the presidents and secretaries of the Sankarankulangara Temple Devaswom, Thrissur and Kannankottu Devi Temple, Pambayimoola, Edakochi and the two mahouts of the animal. The hours-long rescue operation failed as the elephant, which had run into the marshy area near Edakochi, collapsed after being dragged into the land by rescuers.

The cases were registered at the Mekkapala Forest station against the temple authorities and mahouts for violating provisions of the Wild Life (Protection) Act, 1972, and the Kerala Captive Elephant Management Rules 2012, said Suneel Pamidi, Divisional Forest Officer, Malayattoor.

Rules state that the temple authorities should inform the Forest officials concerned about the parading of the animal at least 72 hours before the event. In this case, the temple authorities didn’t bother to inform the department. Moreover, they kept the Forest officials in the dark regarding the incident. They had also kept the information on rescue operations out of the reach of the Forest officials. It was after the death of the animal that the temple authorities bothered to inform the department, said Mr. Pamidi.

The Act prescribes a punishment of three years for the accused. Officials of the Forest department have proceeded to Thrissur for arresting the accused, he said.

Meanwhile, the carcase of the elephant was cremated at Walayar after the post-mortem examination.

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