The Kerala High Court on Friday refused to interfere in the Thrissur district administration’s ban on parading a 54-year-old elephant, named Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, at the Thrissur Pooram festival that is scheduled to begin on May 13, reported ANI. The partially blind elephant has reportedly killed 13 people in recent years.
The court, which heard a petition by the Thechikotukavu temple administration, said the district collector would have the final say on the matter.
According to the temple administration, the elephant has a valid health certificate and he is not completely blind, reported News18. But experts and veterinary surgeons said Ramachandran is completely blind in one eye and is losing vision in the second, Hindustan Times reported.
The elephant symbolically pushes open the entrance to the Vadakkunnathan Temple, signalling the start of the festival. Protesting against the ban, the Kerala Elephant Owners Federation said it would not make any elephant available for temple festivities.
Elephant enthusiasts and Ramachandran’s fans also demand that the ban be revoked. “Pooram is incomplete without the presence of elegant Thechikottukavu Ramachandran,” PN Nair, one of the elephant’s fans, told Hindustan Times. They also accused the government of destroying the Hindu festival.