Sunder — the abused elephant whose cause was supported by celebrities such as Amitabh Bachchan — is being taken good care of, the administration of a prominent temple in Kolhapur claimed on Tuesday in an affidavit filed before the Bombay High Court.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had alleged that the authorities in Jyotiba temple, Kolhapur, had tortured the elephant.
The affidavit stated that Sunder was at Warana in Amrutnagar, and was being given the best treatment. There was sufficient space for him to exercise and a Wildlife and Forest department officer had visited the site. The department had certified that the site was suitable for sheltering the elephant.
The affidavit refuted allegations that Sunder turned violent on August 11, 2011. “The authorities, devotees and the mahout are not at the risk of being harmed or killed by Sunder.” It denied that Sunder was chained at the temple for the past six years and that oral administration of tobacco and spiked chains were used to control the animal. The temple administration claimed that all rules of the Wildlife Protection Act were being followed.
The affidavit further claimed that allegations of Sunder being denied adequate food, water and daily walks were untrue. Reports that Sunder’s right eye was injured following cruel acts of a mahout were false. Doctors and forest officials were attending to Sunder every 20-30 days.