Amid growing public outrage over a pregnant elephant’s death in Kerala’s Palakkad after she was fed with pineapple filled with firecrackers
here is the sequence of the incident.
May 25: In the morning, the elephant was spotted in the Thayamkundu area of the Veliyar river. It was in a very bad state and injured. The animal was suffering from acute pain. Villagers informed the forest officials about her condition. According to the villagers, the elephant’s jaw was disfigured and swollen and blood was seeping from it. When the forest officials arrived at the spot, they first rang loud bells and then set the banks of the river on fire so as to push the elephant towards the forest. But the elephant stood there and didn’t move. On the same night, the elephant moved out of the water but returned after a short while.
May 26: According to the villagers, at 4 AM in the morning on May 26, they saw the elephant standing in the Veliyar River. By 8 AM, some villagers and officials gathered there. The villagers made pressure on the forest officials that a doctor should be called, and the elephant is treated. Around 1:30 PM, a veterinary doctor was called to examine the animal.
The villagers told that the doctor had come from Palakkad, some 60 km away. But the doctor went back without giving any treatment to the elephant. An eyewitness, Sameer, told that the doctor tried to make the animal unconscious by using a dart gun. But since the elephant was very weak, the doctor dropped the idea of shooting the animal with a dart gun.
The villagers also informed that the poor creature was fed with a coconut filled with firecrackers some 14 days before the animal died.
May 27: The condition of the poor animal worsened. The animal continued to wait for help, but no help came. Around 1.30 PM, two skilled elephants were called to the rescue, but by then it was too late, and the elephant died around 4:15 PM.
May 28: The post-mortem was conducted by the veterinary doctor in the forest area, 12 km from the Veliyar river, and the elephant was buried later. With the help of a crane, the elephant was pulled out of the Veliyar river and taken to the forest area.
The villagers also made some startling revelations in this case. The police later arrested a person named ‘Vicente’ from Chailikkal, about 4 km from Veliyar river, in this connection. He cultivates banana in the area. Eyewitness Sameer told that in the same banana field in Chalikkal, a coconut filled with firecrackers was found. He suspected that the elephant would have suffered injuries due to that.
Sameer also told that the real owner of this land is one OP Kunjani, who is now absconding along with his son Manu OP since this incident. Nobody knows the real name of these two. A local journalist Jayaprakash of Mannarkad told Zee News that there are a lot of poachers in the area and many elephants have lost their lives in the recent past. He claimed that the state government is not too serious about the killing of elephants here.
The poor creature could have been saved if she would have got timely help and treatment from the authorities.
Palakkad police nabs the culprit
Amid the campaign launched by Zee News to bring Vinayaki’s killers to book, a man was arrested on Friday from Palakkad district in Kerala. The Palakkad police had constituted a special investigation team under a DSP-rank officer to nab the culprits responsible for killing the pregnant elephant.
The nabbed accused, Wilson, works on the farm of another person, who along with his son is untraceable since the administrative machinery came into action. It has also been learned that if Vinayaki was helped in time, her precious life could have been saved.
Mallapuram vs Palakkad
When the news of Vinayaki’s tragic demise came two days ago, it was said that she died in Mallapuram, but the Kerala government clarified that the area falls under Palakkad. Since then the politics over the place of Vinayaki’s death started and it later got communal overtones. The confusion started because of the forest area falling between Palakkad and Mallapuram districts.
According to the Kerala Forest Department’s website, a national park named Silent Valley is spread in both the districts. The Buffer Zone covers about 148 square kilometers, and it is being guessed that Vinayaki came to the village in search of food from this national park.
An elephant can walk about 195 kilometers in a day, but on average, it travels 25 kilometers in a day. Vinayaki might not have been been able to cover this long-distance after getting injured, but would have certainly walked a few kms in the 20 days. There is a possibility that she would have travelled between these two districts.
The demography of Palakkad and Mallapuram appears to be the basis of this politics. Initially, many statements from the Kerala government itself cited Mallapuram as the district where Vinayaki died, but later it was stated to have occurred in Palakkad. Chief Minister P Vijayan was among those who earlier stated that Vinayaki died in Mallapuram.
About 200 Forest Department officials are investigating the case in Palakkad and Mallapuram districts, but the question arises if Vinayaki was killed in Palakkad, why is the investigation being done in Mallapuram.
Palakkad’s population comprises 68% Hindu, 28% Muslims and about 3% Christians, and the rest 1% belongs to other religions, while Mallapuram consisted of around 70% Muslims, 27% Hindus and 3% of other religions. The demography is understood to be the reason behind this politics of religion.
The fact, however, is that the shocking death of the pregnant elephant must be condemned whether it took place in a Hindu-dominated or Muslim-dominated area.
News Source: Zee News