Thrissur Pooram in the midst of an elephant row

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Owners not to parade elephants if ban on Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran is not lifted

There is a jumbo issue ahead of Thrissur Pooram. The district administration and the Elephant Owners Federation are at loggerheads over the ban on parading of Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran, one of the sought-after elephants in the State.

Protesting against the ban, an emergency meeting of the Elephant Owners Federation here on Wednesday decided not to send elephants for parading for pooram celebrations from Saturday.

Federation president P. Sasikumar alleged that the government was trying to disturb festivals.

“There is conspiracy of forest officials behind the ban on Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran,” he said.

13 people killed

The ban had been enforced after it killed two persons on February 8.

The elephant had so far killed 13 people and three elephants.

The Thrissur-based Heritage Animal Task Force alleged that the elephant was almost blind and had digestion problems.

A committee, after examining its health and behaviour, gave a report to the Chief Wildlife Warden against parading the elephant at festivals.

On the basis of the report, the District Collector banned the parading of the elephant at Thrissur Pooram.

In a Facebook post on Tuesday, Forest Minister K. Raju urged the people not to fall prey to malicious campaigns of people with vested interests.

Safety of people

He said the panel gave the recommendation keeping in mind the safety of the people who would gather for the pooram. Agriculture Minister V.S. Sunil Kumar said the decision of the Elephant Owners Federation was unfortunate. Thechikkottukavu Ramachandran would be used only for a single event at the pooram.

A petition seeking permission would be considered by the Kerala High Court on May 10.

The Guruvayur Devaswom had earlier expressed willingness to send elephants for Thrissur Pooram.

A joint statement by secretaries of the Thiruvambady and Paramekkavu Devaswoms said the decision of the federation not to send elephants for the pooram was unfortunate.

“We are against banning any elephant. We are concerned about the ban on Ramachandran. But we urge the federation to reconsider the decision that will affect the pooram celebrations,” it said.

Solution sought

They also demanded that the government should intervene to find a solution.

Meanwhile, BJP workers conducted a symbolic pooram in front of the office of the Agriculture Minister here in protest against the ban on the elephant.

They also took out a protest march.

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