The Department of Forests took into custody Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran, which killed three people on Sunday at a temple festival near Perumbavoor on Sunday, as both organisers of the programmes and department officials started looking into what went wrong with the festivities that involved a tusker with a long history of violence.

Elephant lovers like the Secretary of Heritage Animal Task Force V. K. Venkatachalam blamed violation of rules, including those on distance between elephants at a temple ceremony, for the tragedy on Sunday. Rules provided for a distance of five metres belly-to-belly. These norms are constantly violated, he alleged.

Malayattoor Divisional Forest Officer B. N. Nagaraj led a team of Forest Department officials which arrived at Rayamangalam Sree Subramanyaswami Temple Monday to question the organisers of the temple festival, owners of the elephants and their mahouts and caretakers.

Six other elephants, which participated in the temple ceremonies on Sunday, were also taken into custody and taken to Kodanadu elephant sanctuary where a team of veterinary doctors would examine them and pronounce a verdict based on which the elephants would be released.

However, secretary of the Koottumadam Perekkkattu Devaswom Trust K. Rajan, said that the elephant had a fitness certificate from M. K. Abraham, veterinary doctor.

Veterinary doctors and Department of Forest officials were present throughout the day on Sunday and that the elephants had not shown any sign of being in musth or displayed any potentially dangerous behaviour, he said.

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