CHENNAI: The State on Thursday informed the Madras High Court that it will not send back all the nine captive elephants from the various temples of Tamil Nadu to Assam, from where the elephants were originally brought to the State some 10 years ago.
J Ravindran, Additional Advocate General made this submission before the first bench of Acting Chief Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice Sunder Mohan. The bench was hearing a petition filed by Siva Ganesan, a resident of Mayiladuthurai who sought a direction not to send the nine captive elephants from the TN temples to Assam.
As a video of a mahout named Vinil Kumar, and his caretaker Shiva Prasath harassing an elephant named Joymala of Srivilliputhur Arulmigu Nachiar (Andal) Sametha Rangamannar Temple went viral on social media in 2020, the Assam government decided to withdraw all the nine temple elephants, including the Srivilliputhur Andal temple elephant, which it gave to TN. Therefore, the petitioner filed the plea for not returning the elephants to Assam.
When the matter came before the judges, the AAG noted that the State has constituted district-level elephant welfare committees that have been formed to keep an eye on the well-being of the captive elephants. He also submitted that the State is taking care of all the elephants and it is inappropriate to seek for the return of the elephants which were sent to the State a decade ago.
Recording the submissions, the judges disposed of the matter.