Two men arrested for beating temple elephant Jayamalyatha

A video captures the duo repeatedly hitting the cow with sticks
Two men arrested for beating temple elephant Jayamalyatha
Screen grab

Two men were arrested when a video of them brutally thrashing an elephant at a rejuvenation camp for temple and mutt elephants at Thekkampatti near Mettupalayam, went viral on social media. The video was recorded by a visitor in which the elephant's cries could be heard as the mahout Vinil Kumar and his assistant Sivaprasad thrashed the elephant's legs mercilessly.

Jayamalyatha, the 19-year-old cow of Andal Temple, Srivilliputhur, is seen trumpeting in pain as the duo repeatedly hits the tied cow with sticks. According to reports, the animal was being punished for not following the mahout’s commands.

After the video went viral, the accused were suspended from service and were arrested under relevant sections of the Wildlife Protection Act. A 48-day rejuvenation camp is held for temple elephants in Coimbatore every year. The 13th annual rejuvenation camp for 23 temples and three mutt elephants from Tamil Nadu and Puducherry began on February 8. Organised by the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, the camp will conclude on March 27.

Meanwhile, last month, a 40-year-old elephant died after some individuals threw a burning tyre at it in an attempt to scare it away but instead the elephant was badly injured. The elephant died before it could be taken for treatment to a facility at the Mudumalai forest range. Three men were booked for the incident.

The Madras High Court last week ordered that all cases related to elephant deaths must be probed by the Central Bureau of Investigation. The bench observed that elephants were an integral part of the ecosystem and steps must be taken to curb the number of elephant deaths.

Cruelty against animals is nothing new. On February 17, a video of a helpless dog tied to a bike and being dragged for over 1 kilometre in Surat, Gujarat surfaced on social media. One of the accused was identified as Hitesh Patel, a sanitation worker at Surat Municipal Corporation. Although Hitesh alleged that the dog was dead and they were taking the carcass for disposal, animal activists, however, claimed that the dog was alive and moving.

A 51-year-old man was arrested for dragging a stray dog on a road in Kattappana on February 15. A case was registered against Shabu after a video of the dog being dragged along the road went viral. He has been charged with sections including the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

In December 2020, a pet dog was dragged through a road in Kochi, tied to a car by its owner. The Chengamanad police registered a suo motu case and booked the dog owner, Yusuf of Kunnukara, under IPC Sections 428 and 429 (Mischief by killing or maiming animal) and relevant sections of the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals Act.

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