The Bombay High Court on Monday ordered the immediate transfer of Sundar elephant to a sanctuary in Bangalore and dismissed a politician's petition seeking setting aside of the government order to the same effect which was passed in 2012. Sundar, the abused elephant's cause has been taken up by many celebrities like Paul McCartney, Amitabh Bachchan, Madhuri Dixit, Pamela Anderson, Arjun Rampal, R Madhavan, Gulshan Grover.
Sundar is now slated to be transferred to Wildlife Rescue and Rehabilitation Centre (WRRC) in Bangalore.
The elephant was gifted to the administration of Jyotiba temple.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) had alleged that the tusker was brutalised by the temple authorities, which was in their custody since 2007. In 2012, the state government had issued orders directing for Sundar's release in a sanctuary. The orders were never implemented.
PETA then approached the Bombay High Court seeking the implementation of government orders. Vinay Kore, the politician who had allegedly gifted the tusker to the temple, moved a petition seeking setting aside of the government order. In the meantime, Sundar was moved to Warana nagar from the premises of Jyotiba temple.
"The elephant's beatings had been caught on videotape, and veterinarians and elephant experts who examined Sunder found him scarred and wounded and chained so tightly that he couldn't lie down.
The campaign for his release spanned 21 months as people in India and around the world worked to save him from his abusers. PETA India is now calling on Maharashtra Principal Chief Conservator of Forests (Wildlife) Sarjan Bhagat to implement the court's order quickly before Sunder can be harmed again," a press statement by PETA said.
The court on Monday ordered for the immediate enforcement of the government order. The division bench of V M Kanade and A K Menon directed that the transfer should be taken up before the onset of monsoon.
In the past, the court had observed that it was cruel to keep the animal chained. PETA had produced videographic evidence before the court showing the bad condition of the tusker. While the government authorities, in their submissions before the court in the past, had pleaded that Sundar was in musth condition, and therefore could not be moved, PETA had maintained that the tusker was fine, but was being severely tortured.