The animals panicked after firecrackers were burst

A series of high-decibel firecrackers burst during a chariot festival at Suttur on Wednesday sent two captive baby elephants scampering in panic, creating alarm and anxiety among the people.

The elephants — Drona and Champa aged about three — belonging to the Suttur Math were standing near the math premises and were to participate in the jathra mahotsava. As the ratha was pulled by the devotees around 10 a.m., firecrackers were burst to signal the commencement of the festival. The elephants panicked and ran, with the mahouts desperately trying to keep pace with them.

The elephants did not display any trace of panic when firecrackers were set off initially. But when the sound became louder, Champa went berserk and ran towards the open space, followed by Drona. The open space was reserved for vehicle parking and a few temporary stalls were set up to sell wares.

Eyewitness said the elephants were disoriented and ran helter-skelter for sometime. It was sheer providence that the two elephants did not enter the main road where a large congregation of devotees was present to witness the rathothsava, the eyewitness added.

In the meantime, those bursting firecrackers were oblivious of the developments and another round was fired which sent Champa scampering back towards the math again. In the melee, four persons sustained minor injuries and the elephants calmed down when the bursting of firecrackers was stopped. Mahouts Ananiah and Mahesh tethered the elephants and normalcy was restored.

The two were among those who sustained minor injuries and were treated at JSS Hospital.

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