Prime Minister Narendra Modi interacted with Bomman and Bellie, the tribal couple who were featured in the Oscar-winning documentary ‘The Elephant Whisperers’ at the Theppakadu Elephant Camp in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve (MTR) on Sunday, April 9, 2023.
Bomman and Bellie, as well as other mahouts and cavadis at the camp had a brief interaction with the Prime Minister, who fed sugarcane to the captive elephants at the camp. Bomman and Bellie introduced the Prime Minister to the two elephant calves that they raised, Raghu and Bommie.
He also posed for pictures with the couple, who accompanied the Prime Minister during his tour of the camp. Security personnel and officials from the National Tiger Conservation Authority (NTCA) were with Mr. Modi.
Speaking to reporters, Ms. Bellie said Mr. Modi appreciated her and her husband during his visit.
“He then fed the elephants sugarcane and asked us about the elephant calves. We told him we had raised the elephants like our children. He told us no one can raise elephants with such love and affection and took pictures with us. He also asked us if we needed any help and assured us that he will make it happen. We received a photo and a shawl from the Prime Minister and he asked us to come to Delhi,” she said.
Due to a strict security blanket surrounding Mr. Modi’s visit, vehicles were prevented from descending the Kalhatti Ghat Road since early morning, with all local residents prevented from crossing the Masinagudi Junction near the Masinagudi Police Station.
Both the Kakkanallah check post in the Mudumalai Tiger Reserve and the Bandipur Forest checkpost in Chamarajanagar in Karnataka had been closed to vehicles since Saturday evening. Barricades were put up in Masinagudi and people prevented from crossing barricades after 9 a.m.
The Prime Minister reached Theppakadu by road from the Bandipur Tiger Reserve, where he had gone on a safari ride earlier in the morning.
Following his visit to the Theppakadu elephant camp, the Prime Minister’s convoy reached Masinagudi town.
The Prime Minister got out of the car and briefly waved to the waiting onlookers in Masinagudi. From there, he proceeded to the temporary helipad constructed along the Singara Road in Masinagudi, and departed to Mysuru.