In Kerala temple fest, an inhuman parade of tortured, blind jumbos

Everal elephants with injuries, and a few that were fully or partially blind, were made to participate at the annual Thrissur pooram this week, allege animal activists.

"The elephants had injuries on their feet where they are chained in some cases the feet appeared to have been tied together - as well as their backs. And despite the rules, they brought visually impaired elephants into the procession," says MN Jayachandran, member, Animal Welfare Board, who was part of the official inspection team that monitored the animals at Sunday's festival.

According to a 2013 state government circular, elephants cannot be made to stand in peak afternoon hours in the open, must be fed water at regular intervals and not paraded more than three hours at a time. "With the pageant continuing over 36 hours, every single rule is flouted at the pooram," says Jayachandran.

The packed festival season this year, and an exceptionally fiery April, has been particularly distressing for the state's elephants. Over the last three months, seven captive elephants have caused eight deaths in the state. Of these, five incidents were reported during temple festivities. The heat, the crowds, the fireworks and drums create an extremely uncomfortable situation for the pachyderms.
Take the example of Venattumattom Unnikuttan, 21: he doesn't know it but he is on forced leave from work.

That meant, till about a fortnight ago, trudging miles on scorching tarred roads every day and standing for hours at temples, often without food, water and rest. After an exhausting stint at a temple festival in Thiruvananthapuram earlier this month, he had resisted being dragged into a canal for a bath and was, according to locals, beaten for being "stubborn". That blistering afternoon, he finally trampled his mahout to death.

1 dead in Noida building collapse

Noida : One person was dead and three injured in another under-construction building collapse in Noida on Saturday. The incident occurred in Sector 63...

BJP creating Talibanis among people: Mamata Banerjee

Kolkata  : Bengal Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee on Saturday launched a scathing attack on Prime Minister Narendra Modi government over rampant m...

Mumbaikars bear brunt of transport unions strike

Mumbai : As the transport unions' indefinite strike entered the second day on Saturday, the day-to-day routine of Mumbai residents has come to standst...

No-Confidence Motion was majority vs morality: Andhra CM

New Delhi : Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu on Saturday said that the No-Confidence Motion in the Lok Sabha was a case of "majority ...