Kerala

Ban on parading two elephants during temple festivals draws protest

Committee seeks review of Forest department’s decision

The Forest department’s ban on parading two Guruvayur Devaswom elephants — Padmanabhan and Valiya Keshavan — during festivals has led to widespread protests.

An order issued recently by Prabhu P.M., Assistant Forest Conservator, stated that Padmanabhan is suffering from sore feet and Valiya Keshavan has tuberculosis. The monitoring committee decided not to issue fitness certificates to the pachyderms, as animals that suffer from health issues cannot be put in parades.

A prayer meet is to be held at Guruvayur on Saturday, by the festival coordination committee, where elephant lovers and devotees will seek the withdrawal of the ban. Festival committees of various devaswoms will join in. Condemning the ban, the Elephant Owners Federation has alleged that the Forest department was acting according to the whims and fancies of some organisations, which want to “destroy cultural heritage”. They urged the department to review the decision.

‘Simplify rules’

Meanwhile the Arattupuzha Temple Advisory Board has urged the Union and State governments to simplify the rules pertaining to elephant parading for various festivals.

Various rituals of the 1,437-year-old Arattupuzha Pooram require parading of the elephants, said the festival committee. Around 465 parades will be held over the 13-day festival, which will see participation by 24 temples in central Kerala. All idols will be taken out in a procession on elephants.

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Printable version | Feb 18, 2020 11:56:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/protests-against-ban-on-celebrity-elephants-gain-momentum/article30278158.ece

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