Kerala: Devotees Protest Against Travancore Devaswom Board Over Death Of Temple Elephant, Allege Ill Treatment

by Swarajya Staff - Apr 10, 2021 01:29 PM +05:30 IST
Kerala: Devotees Protest Against Travancore Devaswom Board Over Death Of Temple Elephant, Allege Ill TreatmentVijayakrishnan, elephant of Ambalappuzha Krishna temple (Pic via twitter)

After allegations of mistreatment of a 51-year-old temple elephant Ambalappuzha Vijayakrishnan that led to his death, the Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) has decided to launch a probe into the matter.

Tusker Ambalappuzha Vijayakrishnan, owned by the TDB, died at the Sree Krishna Swami temple premises on Thursday (8 April).

While devaswom officials said that the elephant was suffering from various health issues for the past few days, a group of elephant lovers and devotees of the temple have alleged that elephant underwent severe torture as devaswom officials continuously paraded it in various temples of Kollam and Pathanamthitta districts.

Hours after the news broke, the group staged an agitation in front of the Devaswom office alleging that elephant Vijayakrishnan died because he was ill-treated by its mahouts and devaswom authorities.

Ascertaining lapses from their side, Devaswom Board suspended two mahouts and shifted G Baiju, Deputy Devaswom Commissioner, Harippad, from his post in connection with the elephant's death, reports The New Indian Express.

Hindu group Haindava Keralam on Friday (9 April) tweeted a video showing devotees and BJP activists protesting against the president of Devaswom board.

BJP candidate from Ambalappuzha and national secretary of BJP Youth wing, Anoop A J tweeted “Our dear Vijayakrishnan passed away. Was official elephant of Ambalappuzha Krishna bhagwan. He died of torture by Devaswom officials & mahouts. Best case to prove why temples should be freed from govt control. Demand action against officials and enquiry from Animal Welfare Board.”

The TDB manages 1,248 temples including the Sabarimala Ayyappa Temple, the Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, the Haripad Sree Subrahmanya Temple, Ettamanur Mahadeva Temple, and the Ambalapuzha Sree Krishna Temple, all of which draw a good number of devotees.

The TDB comprises president and two members, the president and one member is nominated by the Hindu members of the Kerala Council of Ministers and the other Member from the Hindu members of State legislature.

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