Jayamalyatha in the temple
Jayamalyatha in the temple

Assam female elephant healthy & safe: TN officials deny torture

Sources from the temple also denied that the animal had been tortured.

MADURAI: The female elephant Jayamalyatha which resides at Srivilliputhur Andal Nachiyar temple in Virudhunagar district, is healthy and safe.

Virudhunagar Collector J Meghanatha Reddy, when contacted, said on Saturday that the elephant is doing well and faces no health issues. “However, the District Administration has technically no role in it, but the Departments of HRCE and Environment are looking into it,” the Collector said, adding, that though he could not elaborate on the issue, the video showing the elephant tortured by mahouts was old and is most likely to have occurred 1.5 years ago. Moreover, he claimed that he had visited the elephant on two or three occasions and there were no issues with it.

Sources from the temple also denied that the animal had been tortured. The elephant is 16 years old. A team of officials from Delhi and local forest authorities along with veterinary doctors screened the elephant, and according to them, it is in good health.

The video showing the elephant being tortured by mahouts reportedly occurred at a camp at Thekkampatti two years ago.

The elephant, which has been associated with the temple in Srivilliputhur, lives under a big shed near the Krishnan Kovil temple and takes bath at an artificial shower set up by a donor, sources said.

Controversy arose after the Assam government on Wednesday said that it had learnt through media reports that an elephant taken from here to Tamil Nadu, more than a decade ago, had been subjected to “torture” in the southern state. Moreover, Tamil Nadu government refused to return the leased elephants to Assam including temple elephant Jayamalyatha.

The Tamil Nadu government, in a reply to a PIL filed by the Assam government, told the Madras High Court that it will not return the leased elephants. The development came a day after the Assam government moved the Gauhati High Court.

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