Permission to parade 11 elephants at Thripunithura temple fest kicks up a row

The traditional ritual “Seeveli” being performed as part of Vrishchikolsavam at Sree Poornathrayeesa temple in Thripunithura on Wednesday. It marks the opening of the temple festival season in central Kerala.   | Photo Credit: THULASI KAKKAT

The decision to permit 11 elephants to be paraded at the festival of Sree Poornathrayeesa Temple, Thripunithura, has kicked up a debate with objections being raised by a member of the Elephant Monitoring Committee.

A.B. Babu, a member of the committee, wrote to Ernakulam District Collector Jafer Malik, who heads the monitoring committee, that the decision was in violation of the guidelines issued by the Kerala High Court and the Supreme Court. Mr. Babu also said that the decision amounted to contempt of court.

A meeting of the Elephant Monitoring Committee, which was chaired by the District Collector on November 22, had decided not to allow the request of the elephant owners to increase the number of elephants to be paraded in the festival.

The High Court and the Supreme Court had ordered that the district Elephant Monitoring Committee was the sole agency which could decide on all matters related to parading of elephants. However, it was learnt that the Collector had issued permission for parading 11 elephants. The decision amounted to contempt of court as it was not ratified by the monitoring committee, he said.

However, the Collector maintained that the decision to allow the parading of 11 elephants was taken by him as entrusted by the committee.

The Thripunithura temple had permission to parade 15 elephants. The temple authorities, who were earlier permitted to parade seven elephants, had approached him for increasing the number of animals to 15 citing customary practices. The fact that some of the temples in the State were permitted to parade increased number of elephants during the current festival period was also considered, said Mr. Malik.

Though the demand was for parading 15 elephants, the Thripunithura temple was allowed to parade 11 elephants, considering the improved COVID situation, temple rituals and other aspects, he said.

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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 6:11:16 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Kochi/permission-to-parade-11-elephants-at-temple-fest-kicks-up-a-row/article37796476.ece

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