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Court puts cruelty against elephants at Amber Fort under scanner

Elephants giving rides to tourists at the Amber Fort on the outskirts of Jaipur.

Elephants giving rides to tourists at the Amber Fort on the outskirts of Jaipur.  

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Police told to probe into abuse of 103 pachyderms at the tourism hotspot

A magistrate’s court in Amber, near here, has directed the police to investigate into cruelty against elephants used as a tourist attraction and for giving joy rides to the visitors to the historic Amber Fort.

Nearly 103 elephants regularly carry tourists up and down a deep slope at the fort built by the erstwhile Kachwaha Rajput rulers.

The court of Additional Chief Metropolitan Magistrate has asked the police to register a first information report against the accused involved in animal abuse and cruelty, if a complaint made to it was found valid, and submit a report before it.

The order came on the complaint filed by Gauri Maulekhi, trustee of the People for Animals.

Ms. Maulekhi said nearly 103 elephants at the Amber Fort were being ill-treated and forced to carry load more than the prescribed limits and were suffering from several health problems. They are housed in “Haathi Gaon”, a concrete housing structure situated four km away. The way the elephants were being treated amounted to an offence under the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act, 1960, according to the complaint.

Previous enquiries

The Animal Welfare Board of India has conducted multiple investigations in the past, disclosing the conditions under which these elephants are tortured. They suffer from the blows of ‘ankush’ or bullhook, which is prohibited, and from beating, kicking and insufficient diet and inadequate medical care.

Ms. Maulekhi expressed hope that the court order would help stop the torture to which the elephants were being subjected for long. “Most of the 103 elephants have open wounds, scars, are chained when not working and display stereotypical behaviour caused by lack of natural mental stimulation,” she said.

The foreign tourists who frequent the elephant rides at the fort are often unaware of the cruelty behind them. None of the elephants qualifies all the criteria set for registration with the AWBI under the Performing Animals (Registration) Rules, 2001.

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Printable version | Jan 21, 2020 10:37:53 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/other-states/court-puts-cruelty-against-elephants-at-amber-fort-under-scanner/article24061528.ece

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