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Kothai, a female elephant, which was transferred in 2001 from Assam to Adi Keshava Perumal Temple in Tamil Nadu, is in extreme pains, and is crying for immediate care.

The holy Adi Kesava Temple is dedicated to Hindu god Vishnu located at Sriperumbudur in Kanchipuram district of Tamil Nadu.

Devotees complained that the temple authorities failed to provide proper shelter to the female elephant, which was brought more than 18 years ago from Assam.

It has been reported that Kothai has been seen in extreme pain, and has been literally dragging its right hind leg while walking.

The elephant is unable to bend its right hind ankle because of some kind of an injury, the devotees complained. There is a swelling near the ankle.

Sadly, Adi Keshava Perumal temple authorities did not seek advice of any professional veterinarian, and relief the elephant from the extreme pain.

Still, the elephant is being used by the Adi Keshava Perumal temple authorities for religious rituals, including “begging” from the devotees.

The devotees complained that the health condition of the elephant has deteriorated during the last one month.

The Adi Keshava Perumal temple authorities have been torturing the elephant, and have always kept it short-chained for long hours.

As per the guidelines set by the Animal Welfare Board of India, minimum floor area for housing a captive elephant should be 9 meter x 6 meter x 6 meters. The height of roof should not be less than 5.5 metres.

According to the devotees, the shed where Kothai is being housed, it is less than one-third of the specification.

The shed was constructed when the baby elephant was brought from Assam in 2001. The elephant is now about 3,900 kgs in weight.

Moreover, absence of opportunities to walk has made the animal sick, and is often exposed to extremely hot conditions, under direct sunlight.

Forest officials have also reportedly served multiple notices to the authorities of the Adi Keshava Perumal Temple about the ill health of the female elephant.

It is still shocking as to why the Tamil Nadu Forest Department has not seized the elephant so far, and did not initiate any steps to provide veterinary care.

The Adi Keshava Perumal Temple authority is well connected politically. The temple is believed to be the birthplace of Ramanuja, the exponent of Vishishtadvaita philosophy.

While ownership of elephant is not allowed in India, it is still not known as to why Kothai, which was transported in 2001, did not return to Assam.

Hope the Chief Wildlife Warden of Assam, Ranjana Gupta will take cognizance of Kothai’s case, and initiate immediate steps to bring it back to Assam.

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Anirban Roy

Anirban Roy is Editor-in-Chief of Northeast Now. He can be reached at:

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