Temple jumbo tramples mahout to death, 8 devotees hurt

Samayapuram Mariamman temple elephant on Friday trampled her mahout to death in the shrine after it turned aggressive. At least eight devotees were injured in the melee following the incident.
Masini tramples Gajendran; (above) an earlier picture of the elephant and mahout
Masini tramples Gajendran; (above) an earlier picture of the elephant and mahout

Thiruchirapalli

Subsequently, for the first time, the main entrance of the shrine was closed for the day and the temple authorities decided to perform a parikara pooja to appease the goddess and open the temple on Saturday.
Masini (10), the main elephant in the temple, was blessing the devotees from the morning as Friday was an auspicious day.
Around 11 am, when there was a surge in the number of devotees, the elephant suddenly went berserk and started attacking her mahout G Gajendran (50), though he tried to calm her. Masini lifted Gajendran and threw him on the ground, following which he died.
Shocked devotees, who were near the elephant, fled for safety during which at least eight persons sustained injuries. By then, Masini was stamping on the body and kicking it around.
Fellow mahouts and the devotees who witnessed the incident could not reach the elephant as it was very aggressive. Subsequently, all the devotees were brought out and the four entrances of the temple closed.
On information, the Mannachanallur police rushed to the spot and the sent the injured to hospital.
Soon after, the Forest Department was alerted and the officials came to the spot though they had to wait until the elephant calmed down.
By then, mahouts from temples nearby reached the spot and controlled Masini after two hours of efforts. After 12.30 pm, Masini was removed from the spot and the body of Gajendran was retrieved.
According to A Murali, JD of Animal Husbandry, who examined the elephant, the animal was calm now.

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