The Shia community is faced with an elephantine problem, literally. A question mark hangs on the availability of the elephant, Rajni, for the annual Muharram procession. The pachyderm belonging to the Nizam Trust is currently with the Nehru Zoological Park and it is permitted for the procession only on the orders of the government.

Every year on the 4 {+t} {+h} of Muharram, the elephant is taken out on a trial run to acclimatise it to the crowds. But this time round a problem has arisen with the Forest Minister, S. Vijyarama Raju, being on foreign tour. Without the Minister's orders the zoo authorities don't release the elephant, it is said.

Trial run

The trial run this time is scheduled on November 30 and it is not certain whether ‘Rajni' will be available or not. This issue was raised at a meeting held here on Monday in connection with the Muharram arrangements at the Secretariat. The A.P. Shiya Youth Conference urged the Principal Secretary, Minorities Welfare, Mohd. Ali Rafat, to intervene in the matter and do the needful.

Conference president Syed Hamed Hussain Jaffery wanted the permission to be granted immediately for the release of the elephant for the trial run.

He also demanded immediate lifting of Section 144 from the Mir Chowk police station limits as it would hinder the programmes being held in connection with Muharram.

Mr. Jaffery further demanded release of grant-in-aid, provision of water and uninterrupted power supply to the old city. The meeting was attended by Syed Ahmed Pasha Qadri (MLA), Syed Amin Jaffery, Altaf Hussain Hyder (MLCs), and Hyderabad Collector Natrajan Gulzar.

Wakf Board chairman Syed Ghulam Afzal Biabani informed that the board had released Rs. 4.60 lakh for maintenance of 15 Ashoorkhanas in the city.

Besides, arrangements were made for the supply of water and ‘sharbat' at 186 Ashoorkhanas.