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Kerala Elephant Death: Maneka Gandhi calls for an immediate relook at laws; shocking, says Prakash Javadekar

From ministers to common people, from cine stars to animal rights activists, all have called the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala's Mallapuram as humanity's shame. Talking to India TV, former union minister and animal rights champion Maneka Gandhi called for a change in the law to ensure such incidents are not repeated.

Vani Mehrotra Written by: Vani Mehrotra @vani_mehrotra
New Delhi Updated on: June 04, 2020 14:27 IST
kerala elephant death
Image Source : FILE

Kerala Elephant Death: Maneka Gandhi calls for immediate relook in law

From ministers to common people, from cine stars to animal rights activists, all have called the death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala's Mallapuram as humanity's shame. Talking to India TV, former union minister and animal rights champion Maneka Gandhi called for a change in the law to ensure such incidents are not repeated. Raising questions on Rahul Gandhi, Maneka said the silence of Wayanad MP and Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on this incident is shocking. Each year, nearly 600 elephants are killed in the same manner in Kerala, Maneka Gandhi claimed. 

Talking to India TV, Maneka Gandhi said, "around 600 elephants die each year in Kerala, and these elephants do not even belong to the state but are brought from Assam, Bihar and Odisha."

"The death of a pregnant elephant through firecrackers in Kerala gives out a dangerous message," Maneka Gandhi said. 

Talking about the silence of Rahul Gandhi on the incident, Maneka Gandhi said, "Those in power know that such incidents are remembered for a mere two days and then people move on to something else. They should build rescue centers for animals, rather than shifting the blame to each other."

Maneka Gandhi's statements come after the May 27 incident, when a pregnant elephant strayed into a village in Kerala's Malappuram in search of food. While searching for food, the elephant entered a village where it was fed a pineapple stuffed with crackers. 

Commenting on the incident, Anjali Sharma, a lawyer and former member of Animal Welfare Board of India said, "We need to enhance penalties. Law must be strict and it has to be implemented with full force."

"This is covered under WPA so only strict implementation required and quick trial, conviction and sentencing," says Sajal Srivastava, animal welfare activist.

"Adapt scientific methods to deter animals from harming crops. Unscientific, non-specific bait bombs that indiscriminately kill animals end up doing more harm than providing protection. It may even kill human beings. Just a few days back a hyena died after days of pain in the same area due to bait bomb. Government of Kerala encourages such practices - bait bombs, wire traps, etc need to be banned and strictly implemented," Srivastava said. 

The crackers stuffed inside the pineapple exploded in the jumbo's mouth and caused severe injuries. Unable to withstand the pain, the 15-year-old elephant started running around the village. Even as it was experiencing excruciating pain, the elephant did not cause any damage.  

The elephant reached the Velliyar River while running across the village and stood inside the water body. The forest department took two elephants- Neelakanthan and Surendran for the rescue operation. The elephant, however, did not step out of the river and died while standing in it. 

Once the incident came to light, several people, including celebrities and politicians expressed their displeasure.

Earlier on Wednesday, Maneka Gandhi had lashed out at the Kerala government for not taking any action on a pregnant elephant's barbaric "murder" in Malappuram. 

The shocking incident came to light on Tuesday after a forest officer in Malappuram district shared the details of the horrific incident on Facebook.

He said that the pregnant wild elephant came out of the forest, meandering into a nearby village in search of food. As she walked on the streets, locals gave her a cracker-laden pineapple to eat. The fruit exploded in her mouth killing her. 

Meanwhile, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar also said the government will leave no stone unturned to investigate the matter and nab the culprits.

"Central Government has taken a very serious note of the killing of an elephant in Mallapuram, #Kerala. We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate properly and nab the culprit(s). This is not an Indian culture to feed firecrackers and kill," Javadekar tweeted.

Also Read | Shocking: Another elephant suspected to have died after eating cracker-laden fruit in Kerala

Also Read | Massive outrage over pregnant elephant's brutal 'murder' in Kerala

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