Guwahati/Chennai: Joymala, an elephant from Assam who was allegedly mistreated at a temple in Tamil Nadu, is in the news again with an animal rights group saying on Tuesday that the jumbo is back in chains in the coastal state.
The allegation has, however, been denied by a senior Tamil Nadu government official.
People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA) India said that Joymala’s video released by the Tamil Nadu government in September showing the female elephant enjoying outdoor access and walking around without being tethered was “not true”.
Addressing a press conference in Guwahati, PETA India head of the campaign Radhika Suryavanshi said, “We regularly followed Joymala in her daily activities from October 20 to November 13 and found that she was back chained to the concrete floor in a house. The pool she was shown enjoying now. It is without water and is still in a desolate place”.
PETA India backed the claim with a video showing injuries to Joymala’s legs and a video of an empty pool near her torso.
However, J Kumaragurubaran, Commissioner, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, Tamil Nadu said the elephant is completely fine.
She bathes and is well cared for. We’ve been posting pictures and videos of elephants recently on our Twitter feed. The Indian government has acknowledged it,” he said.
Claiming that it was an old video that was rekindled, Kumaragurubaran said that they did not want to comment on PETA’s motive which “appears to be malicious”.
“Similar videos are resurfacing again targeting elephants and temples in Tamil Nadu. If they continue defaming them, we will deal with them legally,” he said.
A senior official of the Assam Forest Department said that the state government is taking all steps to ensure the safety and recovery of Joymala.
However, he refused to comment as the matter is sub-judicial.
Joymala, known as Jeymalyata in the southern state, was taken from Assam to Tamil Nadu in 2008 to participate in religious ceremonies and celebrations for five years, although she has not yet been returned to her home state.
“She is handling the threat of weapons like ankush (a wooden stick with a hook) being kept in the Krishnan Kovil temple,” added the PETA activist.
The first video of the beating of a pachyderm in a chainsaw at an elephant rehabilitation camp surfaced in February 2021, and the mahout and kavadi were arrested by the Tamil Nadu government, a PETA activist said.
A second video of a similar attack in which another man was killed at the temple surfaced in June this year, sparking public outrage.
The Assam government has sent a four-member team of elephant and forest experts and police officers to assess the condition of the elephants and pave the way for their return to the state, but the Tamil Nadu government has rejected the delegation. they meet. The elephant.
The Assam government has obtained an interim order from the Gauhati High Court for the inspection of elephants taken from the northeastern state to Tamil Nadu.
Suryavanshi insisted that visitors are not allowed into the area where Joymala is currently being held, ‘where she appears to be isolated and hiding her abuse’.
She urged the Assam government to put pressure on the southern state to release the jumbo and ensure that Joymala is sent to a specialized rehabilitation center as she needs skills to handle abused elephants.
According to official records, there are nine elephants from Assam in different temples of Tamil Nadu.
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