Bollywood stars join PETA rally for abused elephant Joymala’s release

Forest officials in Tamil Nadu reportedly told the Assam team the animal cannot be returned without Chief Minister M. K. Stalin’s approval.

September 05, 2022 02:13 pm | Updated 05:05 pm IST - GUWAHATI

The campaign aims at sending Joymala – renamed Jeymalyatha in Tamil Nadu – to a rescue centre for immediate specialised care and an unchained life in the company of other elephants. 

The campaign aims at sending Joymala – renamed Jeymalyatha in Tamil Nadu – to a rescue centre for immediate specialised care and an unchained life in the company of other elephants.  | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Bollywood stars and celebrities from the world of music, sports and fashion have joined a social media campaign by the People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India for the release of Joymala, a female elephant from Assam abused in a Tamil Nadu temple.

The campaign aims at sending Joymala – renamed Jeymalyatha in Tamil Nadu – to a rescue centre for immediate specialised care and an unchained life in the company of other elephants.

The celebrities who have lent their support to the #FreeElephantJeymalyatha campaign on Twitter include Madhuri Dixit, Raveena Tandon, Arjun Rampal, Aftab Shivdasani, Rahul Dev, Genelia Deshmukh, Sunny Leone, Papon, Kunal Kapur, Pooja Bhatt, Atul Kasbekar, Adah Sharma and Kavita Kaushik.

PETA India recently submitted a veterinary inspection report of Joymala conducted on July 27 to the Forest Department officials in Tamil Nadu and Assam. The report says the elephant’s current mahout used pliers on her skin, even in front of inspectors. The mahout forbade the inspectors from taking photographs and video footage, but they still managed to document her condition.

The inspection was conducted after two separate viral videos emerged, one in June 2022 and the other in February 2021, of Joymala being beaten so badly by different mahouts that she can be heard screaming. The beatings occurred in the sanctum sanctorum of the Krishnan Kovil temple near Srivilliputhur Nachiyar Thirukovil.

“The stars’ appeal to Tamil Nadu and Assam officials to rescue elephant Joymala follows that of caring people from across the nation who are concerned for her well-being and safety,” PETA India vice-president Sachin Bangera said.

“As a female elephant, Joymala would have already been disturbed from being forced to live a life of isolation. On top of that, this national heritage animal has had to sustain relentless beatings. It’s high time she was sent to a rescue centre where she can get the care she deserves to start recovering from her trauma,” he added.

Slew of complaints

Following complaints filed by PETA India and the intervention of the Animal Welfare Board of India, a first information report under relevant sections of the Indian Penal Code, 1860, and the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, was registered against the mahout who beat Joymala in the June 2022 video.

In addition, a wildlife offence report under the Wild Life (Protection) Act (WPA), 1972, along with the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephant (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2011, was reportedly registered by the Srivilliputhur Forest Range in July.

Tamil Nadu’s Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department had earlier suspended a mahout involved in beating the elephant in a video that surfaced in February 2021. The Tamil Nadu Forest Department booked him and his assistant under Section 13 of the Tamil Nadu Captive Elephants (Management and Maintenance) Rules, 2011, and Section 51 of the WPA, 1972. But there is evidence that Joymala continues to be abused, the PETA India said.

Meanwhile, the four-member Assam team in Tamil Nadu to inspect the condition of Joymala and try to bring her back, was reportedly denied permission to see the animal. The southern State’s Forest officials are also said to have told the team the elephant cannot be returned without Chief Minister M. K. Stalin’s approval.

The Assam team members were also reportedly told to return, but Assam Chief Minister Himanta Biswa Sarma advised the members to stay back.

Joymala was given on a six-month lease to Tamil Nadu from Assam in 2008 and never returned, making her continued use in the southern State illegal under the Wildlife Protection Act, 1972, officials in Assam said.

Top News Today

Comments

Comments have to be in English, and in full sentences. They cannot be abusive or personal. Please abide by our community guidelines for posting your comments.

We have migrated to a new commenting platform. If you are already a registered user of The Hindu and logged in, you may continue to engage with our articles. If you do not have an account please register and login to post comments. Users can access their older comments by logging into their accounts on Vuukle.