Elephant on parade kills mahout

This is the second time tusker Ukkan Kunju was killing its mahout

Updated - April 04, 2018 08:45 pm IST

Published - April 04, 2018 08:09 am IST - Palakkad

A mahout was gored to death by the elephant he handled early on Tuesday morning as he tried taming the pachyderm that was being taken out on a ceremonial procession at Masthan Ouliya Mosque at Melarkkad, near Alathur, here.

The death occurred at 3 a.m. when the animal ran amok while being caparisoned by the mahout and his two helpers for the religious festival.

The deceased has been identified as Kannan, a native of Thrissur. According to police, the elephant was identified as Ukkan Kunju, a tusker who belonged to a licensee in Chalakudy. The elephant was taken to Melarkkad by midnight on Monday to add attraction to an annual nercha (offering) festival at the mosque.

A commotion broke out when the elephant started running through the mosque premises occupied by hundreds of devotees. After it killed the mahout, the elephant could be tamed only after several hours of hard work.

According to Thrissur-based voluntary organisation Heritage Animal Task Force general secretary V.K. Venkatachalam, the elephant turned violent following musth and its parade was conducted violating all applicable laws.

The elephant was forced to parade at various churches, temples and mosques during the last two weeks to add attraction to annual festivals without rest, he alleged in a petition to Union Ministry of Environment and Forests and Kerala Police chief.

Body mutilated

“The elephant mutilated the body of Kannan and ran around carrying the body on its tusks,” he said. According to Mr Venkatachalam, this was the second time Ukkan Kunju was killing its mahout. The first time was at Athirappilly in 2011 during the shooting of a Manirathnam film. Actress Aiswarya Rai and many other film personalities had to flee from the scene after the attack.

The elephant lost a portion of its right tusk after falling from a moving truck some years ago, said Mr. Venkatachalam. Now the owner was parading it in festivals after attaching an artificial tusk. According to him, the elephant was denied of required fodder and water on Monday.

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