The Thrissur district administration on Saturday revoked its ban on parading a 54-year-old elephant, named Thechikottukavu Ramachandran, at the Thrissur Pooram festival that will begin on May 13. The partially blind elephant has reportedly killed 13 people in recent years.
Thrissur district collector TV Anupama gave the go-ahead after a team of doctors examined the elephant on Saturday morning and declared that it is medically fit, ANI reported.
The doctors said the elephant showed no signs of musth and did not have any injuries, according to Manorama. Musth is a periodic condition where male elephants are aggressive. However, the advocate general asked for precautionary measures to avoid untoward incidents, and asked the authorities to keep people away from the elephant, The Hindu reported.
The elephant symbolically pushes open the entrance to the Vadakkunnathan Temple, signalling the start of the festival. The elephant, which was brought from Bihar in the early 1970s is owned by a temple trust in Peramangalam in Thrissur.
Anupama had banned the elephant’s participation after it ran amok in February, killing two people, The Hindustan Times reported. This reportedly led to a stand-off between elephant owners and the authorities, with elephant owners threatening to pull out of the week-long festival.
On Friday, the Kerala High Court had refused to intervene in the ban, while hearing a petition by the Thechikotukavu temple administration. The court said that the final decision would rest on the district collector.
According to the temple administration, the elephant has a valid health certificate and he is not completely blind. But experts and veterinary surgeons said Ramachandran is completely blind in one eye and is losing vision in the second.
While the Elephant Owners Federation has welcomed the decision to allow the elephant to participate in the festival, it was condemned by the Heritage Animal Task Force. It said that Ramachandran was partially blind and had digestive problems. It also said that allowing the elephant with a disability to be paraded was against the Captive Elephant Management Rules.