Minister Prakash Javadekar Says Will Probe Elephant’s Death In Kerala’s Mallapuram: Not Indian Culture

'Not Indian Culture': Minister Says Will Probe Elephant's Death In Kerala

The wild elephant strayed into a village near Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad last Wednesday.

New Delhi:

The death of a pregnant elephant in Kerala after it ate a pineapple stuffed with explosives will be investigated by the central government, Union Minister Prakash Javadekar said today. There has been an outpouring of rage and grief after tragic visuals of the elephant, dead in a river, emerged in a forest officer’s post earlier this week.

The government had taken “very serious note” of the killing of the elephant, said Mr Javadekar. “We will not leave any stone unturned to investigate properly and nab the culprit(s). This is not an Indian culture to feed fire crackers and kill,” the minister tweeted.

Though Mr Javadekar’s tweet said the incident took place in Mallapuram, the elephant died in Palakkad district of Kerala.

The wild elephant strayed into a village near Silent Valley National Park in Palakkad last Wednesday when it ate a pineapple filled with firecrackers. It exploded in its mouth and in that state the elephant walked for days in pain before it went into a river and died standing on May 27.

Photos shared on social media showed the elephant standing in the river with her mouth and trunk in water, perhaps for some relief from the unbearable pain. Officials guessed from its shrunken form that the animal may have eaten the fruit 20 days ago and had starved since.

Villagers in the region often use firecracker or explosive-filled fruit to protect their fields from wild animals.

A similar incident took place last month when a female elephant was found with serious mouth injures in a nearby district, officials said. Its jaw was broken and it too died of its injuries. Officials are investigating whether this elephant had also eaten fruit packed with explosives.

There was widespread outrage on social media after Mohan Krishnan, a forest officer, posted an emotional note on his Facebook page. “When we saw her she was standing in the river, with her head dipped in the water. She had a sixth sense that she was going to die. She took the Jalasamadhi in the river in a standing position,” wrote Krishnan, who had been tasked with rescuing the elephant.

“She didn’t harm a single human being even when she ran in searing pain in the streets of the village,” he wrote.

Celebrities, activities and thousands of social media users have demanded action and expressed sorrow at the elephant’s death.

Kerala Chief Minister Pinarayi Vijayan said on Wednesday that strict action would be taken against those responsible for the elephant’s death. “The forest department is probing the case and the culprits will be brought to book,” Mr Vijayan said.

A First Information Report has been filed against unknown persons. No arrests have been made so far.

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